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HR and Agile Management

HR and Agile Management 06.09.2017 - An event took place at the Pforzheim University on the subject of Agile Transformation which was called "HR Trends of the Future - Business meets Science" and was led and opened by Professor Stephan Fischer. This HR event was held as part of a series of events on Agile Transformation which, thanks to its great success, was already in its eleventh edition. The event, as the entire series of events, has the goal of combining business and research. Within the framework of the event, workshops were held on various topics involving representatives of companies as well as scientists. 

Companies and agility

One of the lectures given by Professor Stephan Fischer dealt with the subject of agility and its benefits for companies. Agility in management is now a familiar concept for many. But what does this concept mean for businesses and companies and how are agile methods used by managers in practice? Professor Fischer has already dealt with these questions in various studies. Agility ensures competitiveness in management, which of course is also important in corporate practice. The fast and increasingly accelerating development in technology, the spread of networks and digitisation make the demands on companies and their structures more and more complex. Many economists assume that agile methods are the only way to deal with these requirements and be among the winners in the diverse economic world. 

Agility research: fast and dynamic

Agility has been researched and applied since the 70s. However, a decisive change in the principles of agility is associated with the advent of digitisation. Unfortunately there is hardly an appropriate and, above all, no generally accepted and precise definition of what agility exactly is. Therefore, it is interpreted and applied by many in their own way. New studies provide insight into the application of agile methods in the practice of German companies. Many studies have determined how widely used agile techniques are.
 
In order to understand and grasp the concept of agility, four elements must be considered: Speed, adaptability, customer satisfaction and attitude. The first two belong together insofar as the structures of a company must be designed in such a way that they are able to react quickly and flexibly. To be agile means to quickly recognise changes and adapt to them. The quick implementation of decisions made just as quickly is a challenge for all types of businesses. Customer satisfaction is definitely an important goal in all sectors. Flexibility and above all the individual and fast processing of customer requirements play a role here too. Agile methods must ensure that special requests can be responded to quickly and specifically. The attitude of the company can also be classified as agile. The attitude is important not only with regard to the customer but also among the employees. In agile companies, everyone is on the same level - at least that is the ideal situation.

Agility in practice

From a practical point of view, the introduction of agile methods in the business sector means that the management level delegates responsibilities, trust is built, all structures are transparent, and that decisions which have already been made can always be reconsidered. Anticipation is a keyword that has been mentioned in many surveys.
 
As a main reason for the introduction of agile methods, a dynamic economic environment is mentioned, which must be responded to more and more quickly in order to remain competitive. Many managers also point out that their employees and applicants want to work in an agile way and request the correspondingly adapted structures. Many companies consider agile methods as the only possibility to enable them to continue to develop and innovate. Furthermore, in order to work in an agile way there are also external factors, especially those that relate to the customers. Satisfied customers are a guarantee of success. 

Agile methods applied differently

Studies have shown that most companies use agile methods in some way. The vast majority of managers and executives recognise their advantages. However, much is applied to different extents and is also assigned varying importance. The speed and the adaptability of the structures seem to be of primary importance. Companies that have been working with agile methods for a long time are concentrating on the implementation of agile methods in customer support and the creation of transparent and flexible internal structures on the subject of attitude. This may be related to the fact that speed and flexibility in dealing with customers are viewed by many as "easy" to implement goals, and that the company management can only be evaluated and changed in a second step, that is, when the agility concept has already been consolidated in the company.

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