Change is always a constant that businesses must contend with, and the pandemic that decreased South Africa’s GDP by 7% in 2020, highlighted just how important a business’s agility and speed of execution in responding to change is.
As businesses forge forward on their way to recovery from the pandemic, the challenges will include the effects of macro-environmental factors such as, disruptive technologies, hyper-competition and the effects of globalisation. Many will be forced to enter new markets, change their business models, and offer new services – and do all this at accelerated speeds.
Risk Managers will find that they will be required to support these business priorities under conditions of very limited time, with very limited information and with ever increasing degrees of uncertainty as business explores different growth strategies.
Business will need to adopt Agile practises for managing and delivering projects that will enable them to deliver projects quicker and more efficiently.
Agile practices, which are founded on the principles enshrined in the Agile Manifesto aim to deliver requirements iteratively and incrementally with shorter delivery cycles, thus enabling businesses to get to market faster – compared to traditional approaches – which has a positive impact on the bottom line and the competitiveness of a business.
The challenge for risk managers is that the adoption of agile practises in their organisations often does not prioritise how assurance functions are integrated into the accelerated project delivery processes or how risks are managed within such projects. Common tell signs that your risk team is not part of the agile transition agenda include:
These indicators are signs that the risk management function may not be considered an ‘agile’ enabler that can support change and innovation. For risk management executives this a clear call to ‘adapt’ your approach to the agile philosophy rather than simply attempting to apply traditional practises to this new way of working.
Risk Management geared up for change – Here are 4 tips for risk managers to adapt an agile mindset to supporting their business to change rapidly.
As organisations increasingly adopt agile practises, it transforms their business. The need for speed must be balanced with robust risk management. Risk managers must embrace the agile shift and ask themselves How do we become an agile risk function? How do we support in building an agile organisation? Because now more than ever risk management is needed as the trusted partner in navigating uncertainty.
Prince Shonhiwa and his team
Principle Specialist: New Business Risk
Vodacom South Africa
Communication of risk to internal stakeholders under agile project management in a South African telecommunications organisation, Wits, P. Shonhiwa, (2019)
Risk Management in Agile Projects, ISACA Journal, Alan Moran, (2016)
GDP: Quantifying SA’s economic performance in 2020, Stats SA, (2020)
Manifesto for Agile Software Development, (2001)