Agile Leadership

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Agile Implementation Strategies

The agile leadership team should view various parts of the organization as their customers. Members of an agile leadership team need to solve problems and remove constraints rather than delegate that work to subordinates.


  • According to HBR, agile teams work differently when compared to chain-of-command bureaucracies and are largely self-governing.
  • Moreover, the frustration caused by bureaucratic procedures or lack of collaboration between operations and innovation team results in organizational friction, meltdowns, and poor results.
  • Therefore, companies should focus on creating an agile leadership team.


  • The agile leadership team should view various parts of the organization as their customers.
  • Members of an agile leadership team need to solve problems and remove constraints rather than delegate that work to subordinates.
  • The agile leadership team should consist of an initiative chief who is responsible for overall results and a facilitator who coaches the team members and helps them to stay actively engaged.


  • Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services used this strategy and created what it called a “dual organization”.
  • The members of the management board at Bosch divided themselves into small agile teams and tested various approaches to tackle tough problems or work on fundamental topics.


  • The company reports that nearly all areas are collaborating more effectively and are adapting more quickly to increasingly dynamic marketplaces.


  • According to a research paper published by ABS Journal, the thought process and mindset should change from leadership to the execution team and the implementation should be from the implementation team to leadership.
  • According to Accenture, companies should follow a cyclical strategy while implementing agile methodology following a cycle from 'Discover & Evaluate to Prioritize to Build & Operate to Analyze and again to Discover & Evaluate'.
  • According to Deloitte, companies should follow an implementation approach from 'Pilot to Refine to Adopt to Scale'.


  • At Ericsson, each unit was given the freedom to choose whether and how to adopt and apply agile.
  • BMC Software’s Infrastructure Management Group (IMG) used agile development practices to deliver major products in less time and with higher quality.
  • After implementing agile methodology, Symphony Solutions had 6 successful agile quarterly planning sessions and its number of engineers grew from 40 to 60 in 3 months.


We began our research by looking for research papers and academic studies around agile implementation strategies that have been used in the past and have been confirmed as effective for implementing an agile model in an organization. We came across an article published by HBR about an effective agile implementation strategy that was adopted by Bosch. However, several other research papers and academic studies published by ABS Journal and Carnegie Mellon University only provided some generic strategies for implementing agile methodology.
Further, we started to search various studies published by leading advisory firms including but not limited to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, and KPMG, among others. However, most of the reports published by Accenture and Deloitte only provided implementation plans and did not provide any information on agile implementation strategies that have been used in the past and have been confirmed as effective for implementing an agile model in the organization.

Next, we started to search for case studies around companies successfully implementing agile methodologies. We came across numerous case studies about Ericsson, BMC Software, and BleXr on how the companies successfully implemented agile methodology in the organizations along with their positive results. However, none of the case studies provided any information on what specific or distinct strategies they used for agile implementation.

As our last resort, we scanned various agile consulting firms. The idea here was to find company articles around their recommended strategies for agile implementations along with relevant examples because companies typically publish such information for promotional purposes. However, after checking numerous company websites and their publications and press releases such as SAFe, Symphony Solutions, and LeSS, we were not able to find any examples of how and where the strategy was used and how effective it was (final results). All the companies have only published their implementation plans for agile methodology with no information on how effective it is. We assume the unavailability of data is due to the fact that companies hide their implementation strategies for competitive reasons.
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Agile Leadership; Case Studies

As a part of Agile approach, Coca-Cola is returning the ownership of company's bottling operations to individual companies across the globe. Henkel 2020+ ambition include increasing agility by energized and empowered teams, fastest time-to-market and smart and simplified processes.


General Overview

Core Objectives

Agility Approaches and Results


General Overview

Core Objectives

Agility Approaches and Results

Research Strategy

We started our research about the topic by scouring agile market reports, consulting firms which support leading companies in promoting agility, agile case studies in websites such as Accenture, capgemini, Mckinsey, Toluana, BCG, and growth hacker. Most of the information obtained in these resources was on overview of agile strategies or companies which adopted agile strategy but not categorized under CPG sector. From the list of companies obtained, we then deep dived into multiple companies to identify those that were able to transform their businesses and make them more agile. From these resources, we identified Coca-Cola and Henkel as case study examples of CPG companies, where the business leaders were able to transform the business and make it more agile.


From Part 01
  • "Leading Agile by Being Agile"
  • "When leaders haven’t themselves understood and adopted agile approaches, they may try to scale up agile the way they have attacked other change initiatives: through top-down plans and directives."
  • "The agile leadership team, like any other agile team, has an “initiative owner” who is responsible for overall results and a facilitator who coaches team members and helps keep everyone actively engaged."
  • "Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services with more than 400,000 associates and operations in 60-plus countries, took this approach."
  • "But different business areas required different approaches, and Bosch’s first attempt to implement what it called a “dual organization”—one in which hot new businesses were run with agile teams while traditional functions were left out of the action—compromised the goal of a holistic transformation."
  • "Today Bosch operates with a mix of agile teams and traditionally structured units. But it reports that nearly all areas have adopted agile values, are collaborating more effectively, and are adapting more quickly to increasingly dynamic marketplaces."
  • "There can be two approaches which should work at the same time. The thought process and mindset change from leadership to the execution team and implementation should be from the Implementation team to leadership."
  • "To conclude, we can say the journey towards implementation starts from mindset shift to culture shift. It involves all the layers in the organization including vendors, suppliers, and customers. Furthermore, using the right tools in place is necessary with transforming digitally and improving processes."
  • "In this post, I want to expand that discussion to look closer at agile strategy, or short-cycle strategy development and execution, describe what it looks like when implemented, and examine how it supports organizational performance."
  • "As agility becomes part of an organization's relationship to its work, whether through software development or business practices, agile concepts are being explicitly applied to organizational practices."
  • "As agility works its way to the very top of organizations, the shift to agile thinking brings focus to strategy execution (not just planning) right from the beginning. The obligation of agile strategy is to enable the organization to sustain strategic momentum while frequently deploying and refining strategic initiatives."
  • "By spring 2014, the development organization had grown from two team at the end of 2011 to 15 development teams, distributed to five global sites. "
  • "At the corporate level, Ericsson had identified the need to be more agile, and had made the adoption of agile methods a strategic priority. Several successful agile transformations had already taken place in various units withing the company."
  • "However, each unit inside Ericsson was given the freedom to choose whether and how to adopt and apply agile. At site A, the biggest site of our case organization, a previous, still ongoing project, had started the transformation earlier"
  • "In less than a year, with the help of coaching services and agile lifecycle management applications from Rally Software Development, BMC Software’s Infrastructure Management Group (IMG) transformed their development organization using agile development practices to deliver a major product to the market in less time and with higher quality than previously possible."
  • "Development teams are more engaged, empowered and highly supportive of the new development process."
  • "Individual developer and team productivity is up by an estimated 20-50%."
  • "Teamwork between product management and development is significantly improved – giving developers better insight into customer needs."
  • "BMC improved returns by reducing investments and waste associated with unfinished or unshipped requirements, designs and development work."
  • "BMC increased their ability to incorporate new requirements quickly – making them more responsive to market changes and customer demands."
  • "Symphony Solutions covered these gaps by setting up distributed teams to integrate with the Client talent."
  • "Since the 1st PI period, the client has had 6 successful Agile quarterly planning sessions."
  • "They grew from 40 – 60 engineers in 3 months."
From Part 02
  • "One of the first things Quincey did as CEO was to announce the culling of 1,200 back office support positions, particularly in the middle management levels. The move is part of a larger effort that has taken place over the past 18 months or so to make the company more agile and lean, saving ~$800 million annually in the process."
  • "“We must be more agile and get things to market quicker,” Quincey said. “We operate in 200-plus countries, so having a success in one country frankly doesn't move the needle. The needle only really moves with a big success in more than one big country. So lifting and shifting… the best and most successful ideas around the world is absolutely critical to creating more billion-dollar brands in a diverse portfolio.”"
  • "Over the last few years, Coca-Cola has been returning ownership of its bottling operations to independent companies around the world. This newly refranchised system returns the company to its core focus on building and nurturing brands and empowers a network of 250 bottling partners to bring the “total beverage company” vision to life in the marketplace."
  • "“We’re driving a culture change in the way we operate, the way we engage with the bottling system, and the way we go to market collectively,” Quincey said."
  • "Developing and launching beverages based on consumer tastes and needs is paying off, Crespo said. For example, retail sales of Coke Zero Sugar, which launched recently in the United States, are up 13 percent in 2017. And Fanta, which was updated with a new bottle design, new formulation and new marketing, is up 8 percent year-to-date. “There is a lot of value to be captured on our leading brands,” Crespo said."
  • "The company’s projected organic revenue growth of 4 to 6 percent between now and 2020 could drive $150 billion in revenue."
  • "“Rather than telling consumers what they should be drinking, we will humbly align our portfolio to follow their tastes, their needs,” Crespo said."
  • "We are strengthening individual responsibility and initiative. In short: We are becoming more agile, faster and more flexible. We made significant progress with respect to these initiatives in 2017"
  • "We have significantly shortened the time to market of innovations in our consumer businesses. "
  • "We are developing more flexible business models. These enable us to respond very quickly to changes in the market."
  • "Within Adhesive Technologies we have introduced 26 independent steering units. These operate very closely with our customers. This is one of the reasons for the success of our Adhesives business."
  • "In 2017, we made Henkel more agile."