Business agility

Agile is not new!

Although if you listen to many current business leaders it is the latest in innovative thinking that will save the world and their business. They are partially right, but it’s not new.

Agile was “born” in early 2001 at a small gathering of software development pioneers in Utah. Out of this gathering came the Agile Manifesto. (In fact, as I write this post that manifesto is now 18 years old, almost a generation ago.)

Agile Manifesto

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

Agile in business

A couple of weeks ago I attended 1st Conference all about enabling Organisational Agility in 2018. Overall an awesome conference that got my mind thinking – always the sign of a great event.

For those that don’t know Agile software development is a change-based delivery methodology. From this perspective there are many ways to do agile:


For business, agility is about responding the change in a whole of business perspective. Sounds easy, not so.

To reuse from Sharon Robson‘s presentation agile is:

  • Customer-centric
  • Focus on Value
  • Visibility
  • Transparent
  • Collaborative
  • Team work
  • Flexible/Adaptive
  • Reflective
  • Learning
  • Improvement

All good things for business, but very hard to do in practice.

Many of the speakers highlighted that today business is very focused on the “how” of agile but not the “why” or Kokoro of agile. They are stuck in the Shu of Shu Ha Ri and not moving through the various stages of mastery.

Having been an admirer of agile for the better part of a decade I’m hoping to write a bit more about agile over the coming month. Maybe I’ll explore some of my more recent experiences and flesh out some more thoughts – like agile performance management.