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An operating model for the next normal: Lessons from agile organizations in the crisis


Companies with agile practices embedded in their operating models have managed the impact of the COVID-19 crisis better than their peers. Here’s what helped them cope.



This article was a collaborative effort by Christopher Handscomb, Deepak Mahadevan, Lars Schor, and Marcus Sieberer of McKinsey and by Euvin Naidoo and Suraj Srinivasan of the Harvard Business School. It represents views from across McKinsey’s Agile Tribe.

For many companies, the first, most visible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic quickly created a challenge to their operating and business models. Everything came into question, from how and where employees worked to how they engaged with customers to which products were most competitive and which could be quickly adapted. To cope, many turned to practices commonly associated with agile teams in the hope of adapting more quickly to changing business priorities.

Agile organizations are designed to be fast, resilient, and adaptable. In theory, organizations using agile practices should be perfectly suited to respond to shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding the experiences of agile—or partially agile—companies during the crisis provides insights around which elements of their operating models proved most useful in practice. Through our research, one characteristic stood out for companies that outperformed their peers: companies that ranked higher on managing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis were also those with agile practices more deeply embedded in their enterprise operating models. That is, they were mature agile organizations that had implemented the most extensive changes to enterprise-wide processes before the pandemic....

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Mardi 30 Juin 2020
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