Agile Thinking Today's Need for Making Smart Decisions

Aniket Mhala, Head - Agile and DevOps, Oracle

What do IT Executives want?

In today’s digital transformation world, every organization wants faster and better results. CIOs, CTOs Executives, and IT directors want to achieve Better Delivery Performance with low risk, continuous cost reduction with continuous improvement in their customer satisfaction.

"The Agile thinking helps executives to focus more on people aspect in continuous fashion than only on processes"

Every organization wants to be agile and always ready to adopt latest technology trends such as Microservices, DevOps, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning etc. to improve their IT services and solutions. Every application and product has a direct impact on business. Technology is the backbone of any productive organization. Hence executive wants to make smart decisions to leverage latest technology trends to get faster and better results.

What do Executives do?

In most of the cases, CIOs, CTOs,and executive thought leadership team, define the vision, roadmap and detail strategy and set-up a tiger team or innovation team to implement the technology vision to make better use of technologies for the benefits of their organization and customers. In several cases, I have seen the pat­tern of “Adopting Latest Technology Trends with Slowest Decision pro­cess” is getting used. It slows down the process of benefits realization and allows a competitor to move ahead.

What Challenges do Executives face?
Despite of Vision, thought leader­ship, roadmaps and detail strategies, most of the organizations do not get the expected results and outcomes on time with expected quality because there are several challenges. Follow­ing are key challenges I have seen in my experience.

• Overall working culture is not agile and energetic to adopt a change

• Executives Planning and Prepa­ration takes ample of time

• Executive Decisions are not faster to proceed ahead

• Fear of Failure &Habit of de­laying the important tasks despite knowing its benefits

• Though decisions have been taken, “rate of action” is very slow

• Though the actions have been taken, due to lack of systematic meas­urement model it becomes difficult to manage and measure the benefits realization

• Initiatives start with positive en­ergy and passion and dry out down the line due to lack of primary focus and motivation

• And lot more……

How agile thinking rapidly help?

As per the HBR’s (Harvard Business Review) article published by John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa, bad decisions can often be traced back to the way the decisions were made – the alterna­tives were not clearly defined, the right information was not collected, the costs and benefits were not ac­curately weighed. But sometimes the fault lies not in the decision-making process but in the mind of decision makers. The way human brain works and thinks can sabotage the choices we make.

“Doing  agile” by delivery teams or innovation teams to build qual­ity solutions is very important but “Being agile” is most important for executives to provide all required bet­ter decisions faster, serve, protect and facilitate the delivery and innovation teams to leverage latest technology benefits.

Agile thinking is based on agile philosophy and mainly it is based on three pillars

• Simplicity - Keep Everything Simple and Small. Even our decisions must be clear, simple to understand and better to manage. It should be KISS – Keep It Simple and Small. Most of us do have a habit to make it complex rather than simple without knowing it.

• Collaboration - There are cer­tain mental cow webs that clutter up the thinking of almost everyone, even the most brilliant minds. Our feel­ings, emotions, habits, and believes become entangled in these webs. Col­laboration with right key stakehold­ers not to just build quality solutions but help to build the Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) to think innovatively and take faster and smart decisions together as One Team by consider­ing all aspects of the need. The col­laborative thinking also helps to build right questions before coming up the solution. I have seen defining the problem as a simple problem is itself a challenge than coming up with a so­lution for it.

• Continuous Feedback - Every­one wants feedback to improve con­tinuously. Have you ever seen the practice of getting the continuous feedback on decision making? Most of the time we get or provide the feedback on processes, approaches, tools, technologies we are being used but very rare the feedback on how we have thought of or decisions made. In today’s world, almost everything is continuous. For Example, Continu­ous Integration, Continuous Testing, Continuous Delivery, Continuous Deployment, Continuous Monitor­ing and Continuous Improvement. Most of the time everything is con­tinuous with traditional thinking and hence we get slow pace results. Agile Thinking helps to revise our think­ing model at regular intervals using retrospectives to have continuous im­provement in our decision model.

I have seen that most of the time problems are with people in terms of their decisions, actions rather than processes. The Agile thinking helps executives to focus more on people aspect in continuous fashion than only on processes. The Organization processes are important but people who are thinking and using those processes are most important.

Finally, agile thinking helps us to correct and reduce drastically errors in our thinking and decision model. It also helps to build the better re­lationships with any working teams and better relationships help to pro­duce faster and better results. Hence, to get faster and better results, faster and better decisions are most impor­tant. Be Better Person…. Build Bet­ter Business Together…. Live Better Life…