From quality to strategic business agility

Peter Pedross, is on the Board of Directors at SAQ Swiss Association for Quality, and this month he contributed to their monthly magazine, Management and Quality. Below you can read the English version of the article, the original version is in German. 

We live in an age of digital disruption. The success of almost every company depends on its ability to create new digital platforms, products, and services. Even companies that did not see themselves as technology companies in the past – in industries such as banking, production, shipbuilding, transport, healthcare, etc. – rely heavily on their ability to continuously innovate.

Mastering the complexity of digital disruptions requires that companies become lean and achieve this in the shortest sustainable delivery time with the best quality and best-added value for their customers. They do this by combining “Agile” – an approach that unleashes the creativity, knowledge and productivity of individual teams – with “lean” which focuses on leadership, sustainable value flow, and avoiding waste and delays. Over the past 20 years, Agile has emerged from software development (partly in Switzerland as well) and over the past five to ten years has also flowed into the development of complex systems; which are systems that also include hardware and to which people entrust their lives. In the meantime, almost all complex systems, including those in regulatory environments, have been developed using agile approaches, and this has now spread to other areas, such as service delivery, HR, and strategic business agility.

Based on research results, company and community feedback, and advances in lean and agile thinking, a few frameworks have been developed that enable companies to be successful, even in the midst of digital disruptions. Mastering these new skills is critical to achieving and maintaining a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. These new core competencies, along with the values, mindsets, principles and practices that guide teams to make solutions leaner and more agile, are tremendously complex and require a reorientation of every company.

This leads us back to management and quality. Only the management can initiate and lead such a fundamental reorientation. However, without correspondingly adapted quality approaches, this complexity cannot really be mastered. Nonetheless, even the quality approaches are completely new since there are a lot of different factors to take into account. Because of this, it remains exciting!

Interested to view the full German magazine? Feel free to view the online version here.