Moving Beyond Agile Auditing

Moving Beyond Agile Auditing
Photo by Chris Brignola / Unsplash
As I traveled back from a speaking engagement in Las Vegas last month, I witnessed the ongoing struggle of getting luggage into the overhead compartment on the plane. The luggage needs to be placed a specific way (which can be different from one plane to the next) or it won't fit in the compartment. Some newer planes enable you to put your luggage in wheels-first but on it's side. Others fit luggage wheels-first, but laying flat. Some older planes require roller bags to lay flat with the wheels to the side, rather than wheels-first. If you put your bag in the say way every time, but you're riding in different planes with different overhead compartment sizes, you're likely to hold up the line (and maybe become the next big meme making its way through the internet). It's truly like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

This is not unlike the previous and current mindset of some audit organizations, who apply a single approach to every audit situation. Historically, we performed all of our audits using a waterfall approach, with distinct and dependent phases for planning, fieldwork, and reporting. As a profession, we recently started seeing organizations move to a sprint-based delivery model called Agile Auditing. Like the overhead compartments of a plane, all of which are helpful for transporting your carry-on items. What's not helpful is conducting each audit with the same approach without considering the unique attributes of the area under review (just like approaching every overhead compartment with the same loading technique often won't yield consistently positive results). Sometimes a waterfall approach is best. Sometimes Agile Auditing is the best. And in many other cases, a third option is best. That third option is Auditing with Agility, which enables you to select a customized audit approach for each area under review. When you audit with agility, you understand the area you're auditing, the environment it's operating in, the clients' way of working, the staff assigned to the audit, etc., and you build an audit approach considering those attributes that will yield the best value to the organization and the best audit experience for those involved.

Instead of approaching each audit with the same rigid approach, you're finding the approach that provides the best fit... much like understanding the requirements of the overhead bin on the plane you've just boarded and selecting the best approach for loading your carry-on luggage based on the type of bin you're loading it into.
This concept, as well as practical insights you can apply to your audit work, is explored more deeply in my upcoming book, Beyond Agile Auditing. It's available for pre-order now. Click here to reserve your copy today!