Tag Archives: Agile

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>

Is Agile The Antidote To Your Horrible Boss?


The Castle, Author: Franz Kafka.
Accelerate, Author: John Kotter.
Age of Heretics, Author: Art Kleiner.

By Steve Denning – If you’ve toiled in a big organization for any time, you’re familiar with the whips and scorns of an insolent supervisor and the sneer of cold command. In the midst of multiple put-downs and slights of your best efforts, it’s little consolation that your horrible boss is just as unhappy as you are.

We now know that the cost of bureaucracy is high. Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini suggest that in the USA it’s $3 trillion annually.

Is this the best that the human race can manage? Is there no antidote to soul-destroying bureaucracy?

One possibility that has recently emerged is Agile–a way of running organizations that has become a vast global movement. In principle at least, it sounds attractively anti-bureaucratic, as explained here.

In Agile, people and interactions are emphasized ahead of process and tools. Customers and staff constantly interact with each other. Finished work is delivered frequently so that the people can see the impact of their work in days or weeks rather than years.

Communications take the form of conversations, not top-down commands. There is close daily cooperation between business people, developers and designers.

Continuous attention is paid to technical excellence and good design and regular adaptation to changing circumstances. Teams routinely achieve high-performance and operate in the state of “flow” identified by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, where those doing the work enjoy energized focus, full involvement, and deep satisfaction in the process of the activity. more> https://goo.gl/BHarqN

What Is Agile?

By Steve Denning – As software itself becomes a critical driver in almost all businesses, Agile is now spreading to every kind of organization and every aspect of work, as recognized in 2016 by the citadel of general management—Harvard Business Review—with its article, “Embracing Agile,” by Darrell K. Rigby, Jeff Sutherland and Hirakata Takeuchi.

“Now agile methodologies—which involve new values, principles, practices, and benefits and are a radical alternative to command-and-control-style management—are spreading across a broad range of industries and functions and even into the C-suite. National Public Radio employs agile methods to create new programming. John Deere uses them to develop new machines, and Saab to produce new fighter jets. Intronis, a leader in cloud backup services, uses them in marketing. C.H. Robinson, a global third-party logistics provider, applies them in human resources. Mission Bell Winery uses them for everything from wine production to warehousing to running its senior leadership group.” more> http://goo.gl/HoyaL8

Updates from GE

3 Keys To Building an Agile Society for the 4th Industrial Revolution

By Mike Gregoire – In 19th-century England, bus companies, dependent on horses to pull their carriages, were furious with the advent of new “horseless carriages.”

Travel was becoming mechanized — faster and more convenient. The government defended horse bus companies and introduced Red Flag Laws that set automobile speed limits to how fast a man could walk with a red flag in front of them.

Governance is not the only system being challenged by technological progress. Consider societal constructs, like education. The 4th Industrial Revolution means that the world is getting more automated — McKinsey estimates that 45 percent of paid activities have the potential to be fully automated using technology that exists in the world today.

There is a clear need to rethink the kinds of skills and ways of learning to create a world where work is still meaningful and profitable, both for the organization and the worker.

The common thread here is that to fully realize all of the benefits of the 4th Industrial Revolution, the foundational pillars of society need to catch up. That’s where “agile” comes in. more> http://goo.gl/Sa5Ya8

Can The 21st Century Corporation Operate Without Agile?

By Steve Denning – In traditional management, “Strategy gets set at the top,” as Gary Hamel often explains.

“Power trickles down. Big leaders appoint little leaders. Individuals compete for promotion. Compensation correlates with rank. Tasks are assigned. Managers assess performance. Rules tightly circumscribe discretion.”

The purpose of this world is self-evident: to make money for the shareholders, including the top executives. Its communications are top-down. Its values are efficiency and predictability.

The key to succeeding in this world is tight control.

Its dynamic is conservative: to preserve the gains of the past.

Its workforce is dispirited. more> http://tinyurl.com/pc2dc8y