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Unleashing the Power of Agility and Military Capability

In the dynamic world of modern business, embracing Agility has become essential to remaining competitive. For those who specialise in the art of combining Agility with Military capability it opens the gateway to delivering unparalleled business and customer value. In this article, we will explore how this unique fusion empowers business leaders to navigate business complexities and achieve simplicity and effectiveness in their delivery and development of their business objectives.

Scrum the most commonly used Agile framework is intentionally indirective, the clue is in the title of the document “the Scrum Guide”. It is a lightweight framework that provides enough rigor to allow its teams in various environments to use the events, values and theory to deliver value early and often. But what happens when you come up against questions about how to scale it for very large products in very large organisations? Use SAFe…. there is an alternative, keeping the simplicity that any Agile approach should maintain and wrapping it up in an equally simple set of procedures and capability that HM Forces use to great effect and will help you to navigate horribly complex environments but still keep it simple, stupid (KISS).

The British Armed Forces is likely the largest Agile organisation I have worked within particularly when there is a large operational initiative. Looking back at it’s most recent conflict Afghanistan. That conflict made the Organisation, it’s Employees and Industry Partners need to adapt a priority. Delivering and operating in predominantly complex and complicated environments with ever evolving mission focuses and enemy threats, unpacked in the following examples:

  • Standard Operating Procedures – Due to the capability of the native enemy forces to blend in with the locals, national Army and Police. The British Armed Forces and partnering nations had to adapt its operational procedures to threats that evolved over decades of war fighting. Due to the enemies ability to go from detectable IEDs with metal detectors and a bayonet to simplistic but difficult to detect IEDs that had no trace of ferrous materials or the use guitar string to counter previous IED SOP search drills. The Taliban’s ability to utilise technology such as radio controlled IEDs ensured that equipment such as ECM was further developed from heavy back packs to fairly lightweight units that soldier could carry for extended periods of time reducing the risk of this threat by encompassing improved SOPs with this enhanced capability to manage this new threat.
  • Equipment development and ProcurementThe multiple threats dictated the need for urgent operationally required (UOR) equipment, this allowed Military Industry Partners to procure, develop and deliver vital equipment to combat the ever evolving threat from the Taliban. From Blast proof nappies to protect genitalia from IED blasts, to rapid iterations of casualty evacuation and medical equipment particularly tourniquets and stretchers. The landscape of vehicles used over the 20+ years also changed from light skinned Land Rovers and DAF trucks to heavily armoured V-Shape Hull Mastiffs to protect Service people from the enhanced IED and RPG threat.

Drawing parallels between Agile and Military strategy may seem unconventional at first glance. However, the inherent traits of military capability and lessons learned from this recent conflict and adopting military practices such as people in large organisations understanding their management 1-up and 2-up intent (a common military practice), can increase communication and alignment on business objectives. The 10 principles of war taught to all military commanders can also easily be applied to business processes and procedures.

  • Selection and Maintenance of the Aim – Align focus and effort with cadence of deliverables.
  • Maintenance of Morale – Ensures your good people are empowered, engaged and retained.
  • Offensive Action – How we attack a goal, a customer or solve or exploit other STEEPLE factors.
  • Security – The provision and maintenance of an operating environment, affords the necessary freedom of action, when and where required, to achieve objectives.
  • Surprise – Delivering at the right moment and seizing the initiative can put you ahead of your competition.
  • Concentration of Force – Concentration of force involves the decisive, synchronized application of superior actions to realize intended effects, when and where required.
  • Economy of Effort – Economy of effort is the judicious exploitation of people, material and time in relation to the achievement of objectives.
  • Flexibility – The ability to change readily to meet new circumstances – comprises agility, responsiveness, resilience, acuity and adaptability.
  • Cooperation – Cooperation entails the incorporation of teamwork and a sharing of dangers, burdens, risks and opportunities in every aspect of business.
  • Sustainability – Sustaining a business involves consistently supporting its people and capabilities to maintain its strategy and ability to remain in the market.

MilScrum understands Agile Practices and Principles, Frameworks that support Agility and have lived and learned Military Strategy, Capability and Procedures which places our partners in a unique opportunity to support and enhance your current business as usual and the development and delivery of your products.

Author Profile

Meet Wayne Smallman, a highly motivated leader with strong family principles, who is a scrum master and director at Milscrum Ltd. He’s a conscientious communicator, a helpful coach, and an experienced project visionary with a passion for learning and cultural exploration. Fascinated by human psychology, Wayne remains composed in difficult situations and takes pride in his appearance, driven by life experiences and devotion to his family.