What Is Strategic Agility?

By Steve Denning – As I suggested here and here, the subject of Strategic Agility is important because it’s central to the key business issue: how to make money from Agile? If the Agile movement is only about creating great workplaces for software developers (also important!) but doesn’t generate better business outcomes, its life expectancy won’t be long. Since I continue to get questions about the meaning of the term, “Strategic Agility,” a few more words about it are in order.

To begin with, it’s useful to recognize that “strategy” in management is contested territory. The term is used in different senses by different practitioners and writers. I am not suggesting that one sense of “strategy” is right and all the others are necessarily wrong. So long as we make clear how we are using the term, we can go on having a useful discussion.

Much of what I see in the world of Agile software development is, by my definition, operational Agility. i.e. making the existing products better, faster, cheaper and so on for existing customers.

Operational Agility is a good thing, and even essential, but it has a drawback. It usually doesn’t make much money.

That’s because in the 21st Century marketplace where competitors are often quick to match improvements to existing products and services, and where power in the marketplace has decisively shifted to customers, it can be difficult for firms to monetize those improvements. more>

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