VUCA – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity

This section of the portal is for supporting the Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant Workshop (DAVSC), currently under development. Discussions on the pages here will take place on the Disciplined Agile LinkedIn group.


Volatility. As the pace of our world increases, what we need to do to be effective in it is constantly changing.

Uncertainty. It’d be nice to have clarity on what we should do. But there is great uncertainty in both what our customers want and what our competitors are doing.

Complexity. Your company, your clients and even your competitors are comprise a system that interacts with each other, but for which many of the relationships can’t be seen or well understood.

Ambiguity. All of the above creates a very ambiguous picture of both what is going on and what we need to do to improve it.

VUCA was first used in 1987, drawing on the leadership theories Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus. We have found it an effective way of introducing uncertainty and complexity to executives that other common methods because it is stated in terms they can relate to.

This chapter was an excerpt from FLEX for the Disciplined Agilist: FLow for Enterprise Transformation (online book). It has been edited to fit into the Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant workshop. The Table of Contents for the book is here.