The model of “agile working” describes a modern and open working environment. The basic prerequisites for successful implementation are employees working on their own responsibility, transparent communication, a clear mission statement for orientation, open feedback processes, a customer orientation and working in so-called sprints. This means that all levels and all employees in an organization must rethink. Organizational structures must be completely rethought. Only then can agile working show its benefits, which include more flexibility, better work results, stronger competitiveness and higher employee retention.
Agile working already emerged with the shift into the new millennium. Digitalization, numerous new technologies (blockchain, IoT, artificial intelligence) and the accompanying rapid change demanded adaptable processes, new business models and rapid product innovation. The working models that had been in place until then were too rigid to respond to the new challenges. As with all disruptivedevelopments, there are companies that adapt quickly and companies that wait and see. The former come primarily from the ICT sector (software, open source) and are still successfully using the SCRUM methodology today. The latter have had to rethink their working model since the advent of the platform economy at the latest.
Agile working cannot be prescribed by management. It is a mindset. Managers must hand over tasks and responsibilities, and employees must accept them in a self-determined manner, come together in teams, and divide goals and tasks into sprints. Besides SCRUM, popular methods of agile working are Kanban, Timeboxing, Ideationand DesignThinking. At the beginning, it is recommended to start with these methods and then gradually move further into the working model. The complete path should be understood as a process and then transition into a way of life. Processes and procedures must be reflected on again and again, and experiences must be shared openly and on a basis of trust within the team.
Due to its complexity and the great contrast to conventional hierarchical structures, agile working is often criticized. Those who nevertheless muster the courage to embrace change and rely on trust, confirmation and exchange can benefit from the numerous advantages. Currently, there are several agile work forms, individual variations or further developments, because agile working cannot be introduced across the board in every organization either. In principle, however, the model offers sufficient guard rails for successful implementation at all levels.