Exploring Agility in the Context of R&D

Practices and challenges

The framework

The current context requires the need for agility and proves that the subject is not just the focus of a passing fad but that it is a notion which can help in coping with the imbalances posed by uncertainties of all kinds. This study is aimed at showing how R&D addresses agility requirements, seeks to understand the management practices that meet these requirements and the difficulties encountered in implementing them, with as an ultimate goal to provide potential actions to put into practice.

Cross-Sectional Findings: Contrasting Representations of Agility

The analysis of the four case studies reveals contrasting representations. Beyond the diversity of practices which reflects that of the sectors of activity and the polysemy of the notion of agility, the companies share a common understanding of the term.

The CIME Corporate Case Studies

These case studies are the result of a field survey of four companies based on a qualitative and in-depth approach. The cases were anonymised, and the companies appear under fictitious names. The interview guide used was based on the multidimensional notion of agility, resulting from an adaptation, after exploratory interviews, of the measurement scale established by Charbonnier-Voirin (see Framework). The report is structured in each case according to the four groups of practices identified in the survey.

Lessons Learned, Benchmarks for Action

The analysis of research findings on the subject of agility shows that "agile practices" are already clearly identified; however, their relation to R&D is taken into account relatively little and the implementation of these practices is rarely addressed. Beyond simply identifying company practises and the pitfalls in their implementation, two lessons can be drawn: the first emphasises the global nature of agility, the second raises the question of the paradoxes companies are subject to as they embark on this path.