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What is hyper agile? Breaking down a commonly misused ‘hyper agile’ concept

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Helen Garcia hyper agile .jpg

In my last article, will working with agility be the new norm now? I touched on some agile buzzwords. Now it’s time to clarify, let’s focus on the hyper-agile concept.

Hyper-agile is defined as:
Hyperagility seeks to drive an agile culture further, beyond the walls of any one product team or project, embedding it into the organisational DNA. This is hyperagility.

This is where we come back to agile misconceptions. There are many ways to describe an agile way of working and the imperative mindset change that is required.

As an organisation if you decide to commence on the journey towards becoming more agile that shouldn’t include a new form of labelling. Agile is not a focus point for one team, one individual, one division, it needs to be an organisation mindset change. Note, this doesn’t mean a top down approach, but a collaborative and transparent and organic change. And this doesn’t mean a big bang approach, it’s important to make small changes over time with intrinsic inspection to adapt and improve, this is always at the forefront of my coaching. Those small changes can even start with a pilot agile team. A team which will look at enhancing themselves and their environment to deliver better value sooner, safer and happier. 

“Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.” - Agile Principle: 5

So what is hyper-agile? Really? Well if you apply the real principles of agile leading to a change in mindset, starting with piloted teams, branching out over time when and if this new mindset fits with the organisation’s journey towards; faster feedback loops; releasing products often; achieving the most value from the return of investment; then that you are on the path toward becoming more agile not ‘hyper agile’, ‘new agile’, ‘future agile’, ‘agile & flexible’ … or any other labels that have increasingly grown over the past few years.

If you are looking for a scalable framework to support this, Scrum can be used, although Scalable Agile Framework, SAFe®️, is another option for an enterprise level change.

SAFe®️ looks at distributed teams, enterprise adoption, management involvement, ART (Agile Release Train - cross functional team that build and deploys the minimal viable product ) teams (5-12 people), with all this said, Scrum is a valuable framework to use across the globe, in a diverse and enterprise setting.

Tip: Next time you come across an agile buzzword, cross check it with the values and principles of an agile mindset and value added frameworks such as Scrum.

Take-away: Let’s remember that scaling agile would be organic. Forcible change is archaic. Building bricks with a firm foundation with a safety net of scaffolding to reaffirm values and principles along the way.

Agile processes allow organisations to be ahead of the game through continuous delivery. We all too often forget that the more frontwards you are against the competition the more you survive and the higher probability to thrive. And that’s when you 'get' what all this 'hype' is about.

Let me know in the comments the buzzwords and misconceptions that you know! I’d love to help support clarifying the real deal...

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  1. Adrian Pyne
    Adrian Pyne 22 July 2020, 03:11 PM

    Creating an organisation culture that enables projects to thrive instead of barely surviving is clearly desirable....and is alas rare. Very many organisations often don't mean to, but act to kill projects as they do not "fit" Business As Usual ways of working, fail to release scarce skilled Ops resources, or simply fail to engage key stakeholders.....e.g. a Sponsor as they are too busy. For Agile projects, the culture discussed here is vital. Highly centralised organisations are especially toxic to Agile project management. I am not convinced that bottom up culture Change is achievable. The most I have seen is IT departments becoming software development, but that rarely changes a non-Agile wider culture. Drucker (whether he actually said it or not) was right, culture eats Strategy for breakfast......except maybe when culture change IS the Strategy. That needs to be led from the top. It may start in the "frozen middle", but without active and sustained C level leadership, you may see temporary behavioural change, and in pockets, but sustained Culture change...not a chance. Kotter was right about that. As for SAFe, I have seen it used to manage Transformational Change. One of two things happened. [1] It failed [2] It succeeded only when SAFe became so modified that it became a Lean form of Programme management.....which IS designed for managing Transformational Change. SAFe is emphatically not, and was never meant to be.

  2. Mark Gray
    Mark Gray 06 August 2020, 08:54 PM

    I agree with Adrian and I also see a place for ‘hyperagile’ organisations too, though perhaps more in the consultancy or transformational change space where the outcome has a strong strategic imperative and speed of delivery is the primary driver or unique selling point. @Helen - I’d be intrigued to get your views on how increased home working and virtual teams challenges traditional Agile approaches, particularly the emphasis on co-location to achieve collaboration.

  3. Helen Garcia
    Helen Garcia 05 October 2020, 08:33 AM

    Gents, thats for your comments. Apologies for the delayed return! Agile as a process i driven by teams. In such that a command and control, or directive approach doesn't align with the values and principles of Agile. So this is where if for example to start small in a 'non-Agile' organisation it's applying the principle of show tell. Apply the process and framework (if desired), and then show who it has worked. We as humans struggle with change, whatever that may be. It's hard, especially when driving a business forward. Agile process doesn't necessarily fit all projects but where there is the unknown then I am a firm believer that it is the most affective. Forcing Agile on people, just as forcing any change doesn't make change a success. This is often where organisations fail. @Mark - So I have actually well before March been remote, may project teams are often all remote and therefore an office space is not really needed.Agile ways of working is about team collaboration and self organisation, being crossfunctional often alleviates bottlenecks and having daily's to plan make a plan for the next 24 hours means that there is that f2f communication. Why do you think that it would?