Responses to the Covid-19 pandemic have varied from country to country around the world. Patterns emerging from these global responses indicate that the most successful strategies to navigate through this disruption are quick, collaborative actions communicated effectively and revised continuously based on reliable information.

Similar patterns of adaptability and success have been found in organisations even before the pandemic. A 2019 study IBM of 12.500 C-suite executives globally noted that the organisations that led the way in managing disruption and innovation while achieving revenue growth and profitability focused on learning to adapt. Organisations in the same study that focused on being efficient were less successful.

Given the current situation and the historic statistics, it is becoming increasingly important for organisations to become adaptable. The Modern Agile principles, listed below, provide a helpful framework to build that agility into organisational culture:

  • Make people awesome
  • Make safety a prerequisite
  • Experiment and learn rapidly
  • Deliver value continuously

These principles, an updated version of IT Agile Principles, guide employees throughout the organisation to quickly learn and continuously adapt their work in order to deliver what the customer needs while mitigating long-term risk to the company. In this way, organisations can increase their capability to be flexible at any time and to successfully navigate through uncertain times.

 Agile Principle & Leader “Mindset” CORE IDEAS                                    REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS RESOURCES
Make people Awesome
  “The fundamental purpose of my organisation is to make my stakeholders feel awesome. My stakeholders include customers, employees, suppliers, funders and our wider community.” 
– Disruption (such as Covid-19) changes customer needs.  
– Focus on delivering products and services that enable customers to achieve results that will help them feel awesome. 
– Focus on making employees awesome and they will deliver value.  
– Delivering value to customers will deliver value to shareholders. 
– New ways of thinking create the change and innovation to find new ways to add value.
– Given current circumstances, what are our customers’ needs, concerns and pain points? How can we satisfy them? 
– Given current circumstances, what are our employees’ needs, concerns and pain points? How can we help them address their needs?  
– How can we support people to be reslient so they can be their best? 
– How can we structure the environment and work to enhance team members ability to creatively respond to customer needs? 
 – Start with Why, Simon Sinek  
Creating Passionate Users, Kathy Sierra  
Make safety a prerequisite
“My role is to create a culture where all people feel safe to be open, honest, responsible, accountabe,collaborative, courageous, innovative and challanged.” 
– Teams need to have the appropriate number of members, skills, authority, space, resources and information to meet their responsibilities. 
– People take risks and perform to their potential when they feel safe, supported and accepted. 
– People feel safe when others respect their time, energy, intention, feelings, reputation well-being and money. 
– People are less afraid of failure than of  blame.
– What needs to change so the team is fit for purpose?
– How can the team enhance its trust, communication, conflict resolution and decision-making in the current circumstances? 
– How can you help each team member feel equal and valued – no matter how their experience, skills or circumstances differ? 
– How can the team become more innovative and resilient to meet new customer needs? 
– How can team members feel safe making mistakes without fear of being punished
 – Building a psychologically safe workplace, Amy Edmondson
Foster psychological safety, rework
Experiment and learn rapidy

   “I support employees to develop new ideas, experiment, fail fast, learn rapidly, apply the learning, and adapt and adjust.”
– By experimenting frequently, people learn rapidly, discover new solutions faster, push boundaries more quickly and waste less time. 
– People learn from failed experiments and feel confident to conduct more experiments. 
– Constantly inspect the quality of work and adapt accordingly. 
– Reflect and learn. Don’t rush to another activity. 
– Testing each iteration is a way to know and manage your technical risks.
– What new ways of working together can the team trial to help it perform well under its current circumstances? 
– What processes can the team trial to find ways to increase the value it offers to stakeholders? 
– How does the team learn from its performance to enhance its future performance? 
– How does each team member get feedback from others so they can grow and develop?
 – How to Set up and Learn – from Experiments, Stefan Thomke
Consider a Design Sprint, rework
 Deliver value continuosly

  “We can improve our value to our customers dividing a large product or service into smaller pieces so we can start to deliver now instead of waiting until later.” 
– Continuously delivering value to the customer creates trust. 
– Continuously improve the product or service getting customer feedback throughout the development process.  
– Testing each iteration with the end users is a way to know and manage your market risks. 
– Put time limits on tasks so the work doesn’t expand to fill the time available.
– How can you successfully created the ‘minimum viable product’; the smallest portion of the product or service that the customer will be able to use and give you feedback? 
– How can you build trust with  clients so they are willing to give you honest feedback? 
– How does the team celebrate success on delivery of its produce or service?
Principles, Continuous Delivery



For more information contact Leslie Hamilton,, 021 817 581