Organizational Agility and How It Can Help Your Business


What comes to mind when you think of Netflix? If you’re like most people today, you probably imagined lounging on your couch, browsing endless movies and TV shows available to stream through a set-top box or smart TV. Or maybe you thought about one of their original series (Orange is the New Black and House of Cards are both award winners).

You probably didn’t think about those DVD mailers we were all so familiar with just a few years ago.

For the first decade of its existence, Netflix did nothing but provide DVDs by mail. Then, in 2007, the company introduced its video-on-demand streaming service. By 2010, Netflix was the largest source of North American Internet traffic in the evening. In 2011, they began acquiring and producing original programming (starting with House of Cards). And today, Netflix is one of the most formidable Internet media companies in the world.

That’s an impressive corporate resume. Not many companies achieve so much success so quickly and have the ability to sustain it over time.

So how did Netflix do it?

There are many factors at play here, but perhaps the most important is this: organizational agility. Netflix earned its success by recognizing trends and reacting extremely quickly to capitalize. The rapid shift from DVDs to streaming? Investing in original programming? Both of those very fruitful shifts represent strong strategic decisions, and monumental shifts in operations – yet Netflix made these transitions quickly and relatively smoothly. That is organizational agility at work.

Recently, the Project Management Institute (PMI) released a report titled “Pulse of the Profession: Organizational Agility” in which they present their latest findings on the perceived value of organizational agility among project management professionals.

So what is organizational agility, exactly?

The following infographic from the PMI report highlights the answers to that question:


In summary, organizational agility is exactly what it sounds like: an organization’s ability to move fast, anticipate trends, make decisions, and change course quickly – repeatedly and over time.

As you’d expect, the faster a company reacts and adapts to the changing marketplace, the more likely their success. PMI adds that recent advances in technology have led to an even greater rate of change overall, so the value of organizational agility has further increased as a result.

So how do you improve the agility of your organization? PMI sums it up in three points:

How to Improve Organizational Agility

Organizations cannot simply declare themselves more agile. They must make a concerted effort to transform in three key areas:

  1. Implement change management best practices
  2. Implement risk management best practices
  3. Standardize portfolio, program and project management practices

The more informed, prepared and coordinated your teams, the greater your organizational agility. That’s why project management software like CrossCap’s Project Tracker has performed so well in recent years. Having transparency to the projects and tasks teams are working on with the ability to see in real-time how resources are provisioned and engaged while simultaneously tracking and measuring performance is a requirement for organizations that embrace agility as a standard way of working. These companies know that the more rapidly they can affect coordinated change throughout the organization, the greater their responsiveness to market trends, and the more likely their sustained success.

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