By Sonia Vaessler
We’ve seen many discussions on why there is such a surge in available IT positions—the digital transformation, growing demand for software in all industries, etc. And we’ve also seen many ideas about what needs to be done to solve the problem.
Technology and globalization are significantly shifting business models in all sectors, increasing the pace of change in job destruction and job creation—including new forms of work— as well as skills churn within existing jobs. While some projections have put the risk of automation as high as half of current jobs, other research forecasts indicate a risk at a considerably lower value of 9% of today’s occupations. The more old-fashioned estimate considers specific job tasks within occupations that, even when not automatable, will go through meaningful change. On average, a third of the skillsets vital to perform today’s jobs will be wholly new by 2020.
The message of Agile and DevOps supports organizations who are filling jobs gig-economy style because these methodologies unify work processes, emphasize feedback loops, information sharing and resource re-use. All of which are important when you have teams and workers changing rapidly.
A suitably educated workforce is, of course, the crucial raw material for business. While individual companies must identify, engage and develop competitive and agile staff, their hands are tied by the basic “human capital” at their disposal.
Research, experience and employers’ feedback show there is significant room for improvement, both in formal education and in what companies themselves can do. Much has been written about boosting teachers’ pay and status, and about the urgency of encouraging the so-called STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) from an early age.
But more needs to be done. There is substantial potential, for example, to shape and advance talent beyond school. Here, policymakers and employers can work with private-sector employment services providers which have the skill to know how the jobs market is developing and what it requires.
Always encourage innovative ideas, make space for new challenges and dreams and help the work environment be agile and flexible as well. Allow team members to work whenever they feel relaxed and comfortable and allow them short breaks and various brainstorming sessions. They will help innovation and creativity flow.
In South Africa corporates are well placed to manage the transition. But we are not done yet- it takes effort to implement innovative ways of working and new concepts such as Lean, agile, minimum viable product and internal entrepreneurship – but it is necessary to succeed.
As a country, South Africa has been transforming from waterfall to an Agile way to deliver products for over a decade. And in that time the transformations within the Slaying has evolved.
- Since being a better way of developing software to the future vision of companies themselves; More customer centric, more innovative, capable of responding to market changes etc.
- Since being a process that small start-up style teams used to the expected default process at large companies
- Since being processes that a few strange development teams did to becoming a cultural vision for larger corporate.
The only things that haven’t seemed to change for transforming companies are that they continue to be under pressure to perform, their people and teams are under the pump and as it seems to be a stretch to think that they have any spare capacity to take on the extra challenges of the transformation effort itself. Before your company becomes a failure in Agile-Transformations consider clearing space, resetting your performance expectations and make time for the transformation itself to be successful.
Most companies have lofty goals, tight timelines, budget restrictions, market wars, performance evaluation. Drastically changing the way people work takes an enormous amount of effort and it’s impractical to expect that you can change and adapt the way you work and instantly meet the current goals, targets, and expectations you’re already missing.
As physical and organizational boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred, organizations are going to have to become significantly more agile in the way they think about managing people’s work and about the workforce. Work is what people do and not where they do it. Businesses will increasingly connect and collaborate remotely with freelancers and independent professionals through digital talent platforms. Modern forms of association such as digital freelancers’ unions and updated labour market regulations will increasingly begin to emerge to complement these new organizational models. For policymakers, an important set of regulations concerns the portability of safeguards and benefits between jobs and the equivalent treatment in law of different forms of labour and employment types.
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