Is Agile a Buzzword?

I have been thinking about agility quite a lot recently and in the last few articles I have written have explored some of these ideas. I discussed what agile working and an agile workplace is as well as what makes an agile office environment. But it occurred to me that if we individually or organisationally see agility as a good thing and regard it as a strategic goal then what KPI would we seek to monitor our progress to achievement of this goal?

It feels very much like one of those goals like “Improve collaboration”. What is meant by collaboration in the context of the business or individual? How would you describe it to others sufficiently clearly that you could agree upon a measurement that was quantifiable and derived from available workplace data? So in the case of an ‘agile workplace’, what do we mean by that and why is it so important to warrant a strategic KPI?

If we can answer these questions we can make real progress. For example, if the strategic goal is to reduce the time, cost and disruption to business arising from internal moves the results are pretty evident, the evidence can be collated, and it is quantifiable and can be measured. Bingo! But it may be more complex.

There is a great deal of current interest shown in Activity Based Working workplaces and designing workplace experiences around this methodology. We seek to closely match the various activities that people and groups of people do in the course of their work with physical surroundings and services that help them to be more efficient.

This great objective is very wide and needs to be broken down into several different elements. Certainly it needs the engagement and active participation of the business to agree upon meaningful KPI’s and performance measurements. Let’s try out an individual goal for agility. I advise my grandchildren to get as wide an education as possible, to be proficient in at least one other language, to focus upon one or more talents they particularly do well in and to get as proficient as possible in those. To these basic ones I might add; to travel as widely as possible and to work for a spell in another country. All these are fairly easily described and understood, quantifiable and measurable. What Workplace Managers and workplace consultants like me need to take care of is to ensure that we understand exactly why we are doing what do and that this can be related to the key business goals unambiguously and that there are in place quantifiable measures so that we can monitor progress.


This article was written by Graham Jervis, the AWA Director of Service Management


If your organisation is planning to make the step change towards a better workplace, then Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) have the agile working expertise your organisation requires. Call us now on +44 207 743 7110 to find out more or email info@advanced-workplace.com with your inquiry. Advanced Workplace Associates are based in London, United Kingdom (UK) but now work internationally across the United States of America (USA), Asia and Europe.