Towards more agile forms in the IT department. How can agile sub organization impact change within a company?

Term Paper, 2019

14 Pages, Grade: 1,0





1) The definition of agility
a) Basics of agile project management
b) Agile methods and tools to improve teamwork
c) Agile vs. normal organization
d) Agility at the company (presentation honeycomb structure)

2) Expansion to other departments
a) Creating an agile culture - requirements (principles)
b) Where does agility begin?
c) The executive as coach
d) Employees as drivers

3) Which methods should be used to successfully introduce agility?
a) Inform
b) Recognition systems
c) Effects on management tools in agile organization

4) Forecast for the future of the company/Conclusion

I. Bibliography

II. List of tables


As Charles Darwin said:

“It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent,but the ones most responsive to change.It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.It is not the strongest of the species that survives,but rather, that which is most adaptable to change.” (Darwin, 1859).

The business environment is an environment that makes organization increasingly demanding due to its sheer dynamism, which means that they must constantly improve their manufacturing performance. Organizations are constantly confronted with changing markets that are unpredictable and diverse, with increasing global competition and ever-changing customer requirements. Organizations today must not only be able to predict fluctuations and changes within the market and socio-economic and political environment, but also be able to adapt and change to them. This requires an organization to develop and maintain an inherent capacity for continuous change. Such a requirement can be met by adopting the management philosophy of agile manufacturing. If such an approach is adopted, there are many key concepts and basic technologies required to implement an agile philosophy, and many organizations do not know how far they are to become an agile organization (Kranz, Hanelt, & Kolbe, 2016; Oestereich & Schröder, 2017; Sharp, Irani, & Desai, 1999).

The purpose of this term paper is to provide an overview of what is meant by agility in a broader sense. In a narrower sense, an impression is to be conveyed of how and in which area agility manifest itself and how this department distinguishes itself from others. Following this, we focused on the core topic “How to extend agility to other areas in the organization” and answered this with approaches and methods. A brief forecast indicates what the company could be like if it is completely agile.

1) The definition of agility

a) Basics of agile project management

Agility - what for most managers has become a strategy to combat problems and crises has turned into a life task for others. But agility is much more than that. It is the will to transform a organization so that it is capable of adapting to any change in the environment and subsequent changes in order to succeed in the marketplace (Gloger & Rösner, 2014).

The word agility and the meaning it has today originated in the late 1990s when the IT industry became more important; however, many IT projects failed due to traditional planning methods. A number of new approaches emerged, which were collected by representatives at a conference in 2001 and recorded in a manifesto. This manifesto is still regarded today as the foundation of agile work and comprises 4 values set out in 12 principles. However, a common explanation for what the term agility means has not yet been found. Agility is associated with "simplicity, clarity and openness in relation to projects and within project teams" (Beck et al., 2001).

b) Agile methods and tools to improve teamwork

Agility is simplicity, clarity and openness in relation to projects and within project teams. Agile methods are used to introduce simple processes and to minimize bureaucracy. However, it is important to maintain a binding framework for agile methods. Concrete goals and guidelines, instead of detailed planning, enable the work to run smoothly even in the event of changes and unexpected situations. For this purpose, the organization goals are delegated among individual employees so that they can orient themselves to their individual goals and as a consequence get a broader understanding of the organization 's goals. In addition, it is up to the employee how he pursues these goals.

This leads to a "I am the boss" culture, where every employee independently assumes responsibility for his or her own duties or the procedure for these. The manager merely serves as an anchor or, in the case of unanswered questions, as a contact point.

Through regular meetings and a high degree of transparency in the distribution of tasks and the progress made, a continuous exchange of ideas is made possible. During these meetings, each employee is given the opportunity to report on his or her work and to address questions or problems to the entire group. The group also has the opportunity to give feedback on the individual's work, so that they have a different view of their work. As a consequence, a "we" culture emerges from an "I" culture, since group thinking is encouraged through continuous exchange and feedback (Arnold, 2016; Conboy, 2009).

c) Agile vs. normal organization

An agile organization can implement innovations entrepreneurially in the form of new products, services or business models. It thus creates competitive advantages or overrides existing advantages of a competitor. In addition, it is resilient and adaptable to the challenges of regulation and its environment, changes in consumer preferences or technologies, and competitive attacks (Sambamurthy, Bharadwaj, & Grover, 2003).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 1 “normal” vs “agile” company (Hoda, Noble, & Marshall, 2009)

The most noticeable difference that is demonstrated in Table 1 "Comparison of traditional and agile project management" according to Hoda et al for agile project management in relation to traditional project management is that agile development, planning and production cycles run iteratively but still do not lose actuality (Kahveci, 2014; Stoica, Mircea, & Ghilic-Micu, 2013).

d) Agility at the company (presentation honeycomb structure)

Agility at the company was developed according to the slogan:

“If you want to build a ship, don't drum up men together to gather wood, delegate tasks and divide the work, but teach them the desire for the wide, endless sea." (De Saint-Exupéry & Von Nostitz, 1951). It is intended to illustrate that only the vision is sufficient to accomplish tasks.

The IT department of the company is structured according to a so called honeycomb structure. It is made up of cells that form a honeycomb. The cells comprise the respective areas of the organization such as IT, Human Resources, Sales and Marketing. The different areas are subdivided into cells. Cells are the smallest part of the honeycomb structure. They consist by all functions which make it capable of acting. Each cell is oriented towards the overall goal.

In the honeycomb structure, each cell pays attention to the others. This means that they are orientated to the outside and that each one takes care of the neighboring cell. The arrangement of the cells reflects the current market. In the event of changes within the market, the honeycomb organization reacts immediately and realigns itself. This can be done, for instance, by cell division if the individual cell has become too large, which is not predetermined, but chosen by the employees within the cell itself.

Through the honeycomb organization, the entire honeycomb is a guided self-organization. Regular ritualized meetings are held, in which a member from another cell also takes part. In this way, overlapping can be avoided and the projects implemented more efficiently.

The management within the IT department of Wieland- Werke AG is based on the 4 principles:

Enlightenment: Used to assess the current situation. Understanding through enlightenment can become motivation.

To create opportunities and space for personal experience.

Anchor: through appreciation. Support is given when responsibilities are transferred. Members should know about the support of their leader, especially in case of mistakes.

Incentive by encouraging courage and not by offering the prospect of reward and praise. (Silberbauer, 2019)

2) Expansion to other departments

In the following, the reader is given an overview of ways in which agility can be extended to other areas within the organization.

a) Creating an agile culture - requirements (principles)

If a major transformation is going to succeed at Wieland, the company has to start with its employees. In the digital, agile transformation, management is the first to be challenged and to lead their employees into the new way of working. The change in agility will be a major step especially for the present managers at the company and will require independent action.

First, they need to overcome their worries about their professional future and face up to the great responsibility. Of course, there is a risk that mistakes will be made but it is essential for development and improvement.

An agile culture means different outcomes for the company and the individual employee. Through agility, a company can strengthen teams and replace managers. In addition, documentation and visualization can be simplified and direct and uncomplicated communication and working methods can take place.

Agility means self-management for the individual. Problems are solved within the team and openness and a feedback culture are promoted.


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Towards more agile forms in the IT department. How can agile sub organization impact change within a company?
University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm
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