Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Business Agility Defined

The last few blog entries on agile definitions, and Agile + Lean + TOC have inspired me to proffer up this aliterative definition of Agility in a Business context.

Business Agility is ...
Rapid Response to Change with Optimal Efficiency in Motion, Economy of Effort, Energy in Execution, and Efficacy of Impact!

Is that too verbose? Is it enough to say simply:
Rapid response with optimal efficiency, economy, energy and efficacy!

Note that I dont say anything above about keen sense of timing & awareness to change in one's Environment. Should it? What about Entrusting and Empowering others?


Jason Yip said...

Why not just "rapid response"?

Anonymous said...

Or Alistair Cockburn's elevator pitch 'early delivery of business value' (see Nutshell definitions...).

Brad Appleton said...

Hi Jason and Bob!

Regarding Jason's question "why not just rapid response?" ...

I'm thinking that rapid response by itself is not enough to constitute business agility. My thinking is that if all I do is respond quickly, that doesnt mean my response is effective and moving me closer to my desired destination. It also doesnt mean that my response wasnt costly. If my course of action wasnt effective, or if the cost of making that response-to-change was high, then even if I moved "fast" I'm thinking that's not sufficient to be "agile" in a business context.

I like "early delivery of business value" as an elevator pitch for agile development. I think when I move from "development agility" to "business agility" I shouldnt be assuming that development is my primary focus. Providing business value certainly should be, Im not sure if early and incremental delivery is always applicable if my context isnt always development.

I guess I'm thinking that "business agility" is more or less equivalent to organizational agility, and that has more to do with the cost and quickness of organizational change.

If I can create and respond to organizational change with rapidity, efficiency, economy, energy and efficacy, then I think that is the crux of organizational (business) agility.

Deb said...

"Rapid response with optimal efficiency, economy, energy and efficacy!"

This is concise, but I think it defines what every business person would like to think they are already doing. I think we are doing something different with TOC, Agile etc. and it is lost in this short phrase. There really is something to writing a longer manifesto as some have done - by offering a larger collection of words, it creates a richer and more compelling picture of the approach espoused - "frequent", "change", "people", "face-to-face", "feedback", "collaboration", "excellence".

Just a thought - I'm not suggesting you need to write a manifesto :-)