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Covid-19: Victory through agility?

With this health crisis, we have had to learn to "relearn", to test, to continue to move forward, to solve the problems that stand in front of us... In the current situation, it is impossible to wait for a return to normal, we must take action with the means at hand. The sense of urgency and forced frugality forces us to focus on immediate problem-solving by creating instant value and finding simple, applicable and feasible solutions with those around us.

Graffiti on a wall "Together we create !"

Since the month of March, the world has been learning to live in lockdown and social distancing. From one day to the next, we have all been limited in our daily social and professional lives.

With this health crisis, we (Individuals, Companies, Businesses) have had to learn to "relearn", to test, to rotate if necessary, to continue to move forward, to solve the problems that stand in front of us and thus be resilient.

But this resilience is achieved under the double constraint of urgency and the immediately available means, which are therefore necessarily reduced. Because in the current situation, it is impossible to wait for a return to normal, we must take action with the means at hand.

Thus, this sense of urgency and forced frugality forces us to focus on immediate problem-solving by creating instant value and finding simple, applicable and feasible solutions with those around us.

"We do agility like Mr. Jourdain did prose in Molière's The Middle Class Gentleman, without knowing it.”

Indeed, we see how quickly certain industries have transformed themselves to produce protective masks and hydroalcoholic gel in just a few days when their production lines and personnel were not at all prepared for it. 

Many catering businesses have had to choose between closing down or adapting. Many of them then had to adapt their sales methods (improvised drives, deliveries on the doorstep, etc.). 

Overnight, a majority of companies were forced to massively switch all their staff to remote working without having been prepared for it on ushc a mass scale. The impact was immediate on the infrastructure (undersized VPN networks, under-equipped laptops, etc.) and on the teams (adaptation to new tools, accelerated training, development of new methods to ensure business continuity, etc.). 

For many of them, we were able to observe process simplifications in order to allow the information system to be ramped up in record time while respecting security guidelines, the widespread use of communication tools (Teams, Slack, Zoom, Hangouts, Webex, WhatsApp...), the growth of tools for visual project ideation and management (Klaxoon, Miro...).

In the healthcare sector, hospitals have deployed 3D printers within a few short days to meet specific needs and find solutions with project teams to the new challenges hospitals face every day (respirator parts, visors, etc.).

All these examples remind us of something essential that we all have in emergency situations which is the essence of what agility is all about:

  • Knowing how to adapt to a context in order to create value.
  • Dropping processes, unnecessary standards to move faster, test and deploy solutions

 

What about tomorrow?


When this health crisis ends, will we go back to our old ways?

Thinking that it is by returning to our old ways to accelerate economic recovery, turn our society around, adapt our economic models to build a world that is more environmentally friendly while ensuring economic growth is futile.

On the contrary, I believe that it is by maintaining these new habits of "test and learn", of agility for the benefit of the common good, that we will be able to build the society of tomorrow.


Matthieu Riboulet, COO at Talan Labs, Product Management Consultant, Agile Coach, Speaker

Click here to find more information about Talan's actions during Covid-19.