An agile organisation benefits from lean methodologies

Being an agile organisation is a priority in a world that is changing faster than ever before. Here are five characteristics agile organisations share and how lean principles and methodologies can help.

5 characteristics of an agile organisation

A clear strategy

It all starts with a clear vision for the future. Despite being an agile organisation, your company should also have a clear destination. For instance, the new opportunities you are seizing should lead you closer to your goal. Without a clear strategy, you risk losing this focus. On top of that your company strategy must also be understood by every employee.

Lean Hoshin is a method for determining strategies and measures to pursue an organisation’s mission and vision via an annual planning phase. Essentially, it is a method for every employee to understand and contribute to an organisation’s strategy. As such, Lean philosophy emphasises making decisions based on the long-term perspective, even it means making sacrifices in the short term

Understanding the customer

Creating value for customers requires understanding the customer. So in agile organisations, customer needs, wants and behaviour are constantly examined to determine whether the organisation remains on track.

Customer value is also a primary consideration in lean thinking. After all, a company’s activities, outputs and services need to provide value to its customers, or they are considered wasteful and irrelevant. The ‘voice of the customer’ technique is often used to achieve this.

Departmental alignment and a shared philosophy

The alignment and the clear understanding of the agile organisation’s strategy empowers teams and employees. Moreover, their end-to end accountability helps build trust and fosters self-organisation, pride, and commitment.  Thus, each department within the organisation contributes to delivering an exceptional customer experience.

Lean methodology empowers teams to eliminate waste by eliminating every step of the process that does not directly benefit the customer.

Strong processes

By continuously challenging and evaluating the methods of working, the agile organisation becomes a learning organisation and improves future performance. It is precisely this philosophy and methodology that makes your business more agile.

Lean methodology also emphasises continuously improving quality and efficiency of processes to maximise customer value. This common thread runs through all departments.

Visual and effective communication

Team members communicate effectively and efficiently in agile organisations. For this, they collaborate and work with visual communication and plan and consult in a workshop format.

Visual management as promoted in lean works on the principle that what gets measured and displayed gets done and makes it easier to understand the processes  implemented.


Agile organisations have all developed their own style of working. However, a closer look at their best practices reveals several overlapping principles similar to those of lean management.