In a nutshell: Business Agility is the ability of an organization to:

  • create and respond to change and uncertainty,
  • through the customer-focused, holistic embrace of the Agile mindset, principles and practices, 
  • from individual teams and programs to the portfolio level, and 
  • across the entire enterprise. 

What we’re facing today is an uncertain and turbulent world, with the clearest need for organizations in all industries to adapt and pivot quickly. 

This turbulent business environment can be explained by the concept of VUCA — volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, originally coined by the U.S. Army War College to articulate Cold War conditions. In a few short weeks, the coronavirus pandemic forced all of us violently into an uncertain hyper-VUCA world.

The key to business agility in our hyper-VUCA world is delivering desired business outcomes rapidly, and simultaneously measuring, learning, and adapting to change. Achieving business agility requires an end-to-end, holistic approach to an organization’s speed, focus, and flexibility.

Business Agility = Speed * Focus * Flexibility

We measure speed by the rapid flow of value and enable it through an obsession with high quality. It is a fundamental tenet of lean and agile methods, and table stakes for business success.

We measure focus by building the right thing for our customers and enable it through astute lean portfolio management. Focus ensures high value and low waste.

We measure flexibility by responsiveness to changing business needs and enable it through adaptive teams, portfolios and architectures. Flexibility results in high customer satisfaction and optimum business outcomes. 

I’ll elaborate these concepts progressively in future posts.  Stay tuned!