Enterprise Agility: Why Is Transformation so Hard?

Karvonen, Teemu; Sharp, Helen and Barroca, Leonor (2018). Enterprise Agility: Why Is Transformation so Hard? In: Agile Processes in Software Engineering and Extreme Programming, Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, Springer, pp. 131–145.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-91602-6_9


Enterprise agility requires capabilities to transform, sense and seize new business opportunities more quickly than competitors. However, acquiring those capabilities, such as continuous delivery and scaling agility to product programmes, portfolios and business models, is challenging in many organisations. This paper introduces definitions of enterprise agility involving business management and cultural lenses for analysing large-scale agile transformation. The case organisation, in the higher education domain, leverages collaborative discovery sprints and an experimental programme to enable a bottom-up approach to transformation. Meanwhile the prevalence of bureaucracy and organisational silos are often contradictory to agile principles and values. The case study results identify transformation challenges based on observations from a five-month research period. Initial findings indicate that increased focus on organisational culture and leveraging of both bottom-up innovation and supportive top-down leadership activities, could enhance the likelihood of a successful transformation.

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