The Goal Is Business Agility: What’s in Your Way?

Business Agility – our true goal

Agile has mostly focused at the team level. The Agile Manifesto mentions the team in almost every value and principle statement but rarely mentions business and doesn’t mention management at all. As Agile as grown its purpose has shifted more to creating business agility with team agility being a step along the way.

Business Agility is the ability to quickly realize value predictably, sustainably and with high quality. This requires much more than the team and must go from the beginning of the initiation of projects through their deployment and support.

What’s in your way?

Our analysis of hundreds of companies indicates that if one looks at related types of companies, they pretty much have the same types of problems.  The difficulties to achieve business agility get harder and harder the bigger an organization becomes. The reason for this is more because the dynamics between what people want gets more complex than a lack of understanding what is actually required to figure out how to do it. In other words, getting agreement on what’s the most important work to be done is usually at the root cause of most of what’s causing problems.

Not resolving this can cause too much work in process, unclear requirements, building things of lesser value than what’s needed, and many more. Each company will have its own set of specific challenges. As well as what makes them difficult to overcome.  But, as we shall see, these are surprisingly common across many companies. What’s important to keep in mind is our top-level goal (business agility) and to see what’s needed to solve that.

Although there are general consistencies in problems, and even the solutions to solve them, it is important to know what your particular challenges are because even if you want to end up in the same place as other companies, the way you’ll need to get there will likely vary on several factors. These include your culture, organizational structure, skill sets, number of constraining factors and more.

For more information on business agility, you can jump to the chapter The Business Case for Agility.