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It’s All About Agility Not Agile Methodologies!


Agility is a much discussed but rarely internalised concept today. Although we have somewhat figured out or are at least in the process of understanding delivery agility through myriads of agile methodologies the core philosophy remains distant from the transformative aspect of an organization. The meaning of business success today depends on becoming a digital player – and agility is critical for effectively becoming a digital business. Simply put, agility is the ability of an organization to respond to change faster than the rate at which those changes happen and to leverage the changing environment for competitive advantage. Real transformations are only possible when agility is applied top-down in an organization – from strategy to delivery. Grand visions with multi-year plans often get challenged mid-way with rapid changes to the nature of the marketplace. Not that organizations should not focus on the grand vision but be able to change and adapt the direction as needed. The reason so many “agile adoptions” fail to deliver the benefits they promised is because they have been treated as if adopting a framework or set of practices can somehow make people agile. The only way to ensure success is through the rapid generation of customer value by fully embracing agility at all levels of planning and value streams.


Figure 1: Dimensions of Business Agility

In the context of digital, agility means empowering the people in the organization to make the right decisions without needing to go through layers of authority and permissions, putting in processes and technology, which can rapidly respond to the changing customer needs and adapt to the forces impacting on the organization from many directions. Evan Leybourn of the Business Agility Institute has written an excellent article1 in which he describes the nine domains of business agility. He explores agility in three areas and nine domains. The customer is in the centre of the model because they provide us with our purpose – the raison-d’etre for the existence of the organization and the motivation for everything we do.

Explore what it means to business analysis professionals and learn more about imbibing agility into all aspects of analysis in our latest whitepaper in IIBA’s Digital Business Analysis series.