Introduction to business agility
Introduction: why improve ways of working?
With the latest technology-led revolution, we have gone from the Age of Oil and Mass Production, where work was mostly repetitive and knowable, to the Age of Digital, where work is mostly unique, time-sensitive and unpredictable. Like going from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age, a new means of production creates new expectations. In order to survive and thrive, there is a need for businesses to adopt ways of working suited to the new means of production.
In the Age of Digital, every organisation is a software organisation, directly or indirectly, and there are few cases where value delivery is not in some way underpinned by information technology. For example, government agencies, universities, health facilities, manufactured products, distribution and financial services all leverage software to solve human needs. Whereas in a factory 1,500 cars might be produced every day, one car a minute, repeating the same processes over and over again, in the Age of Digital, you do not write the same software thousands of times. Software is written once and then runs thousands of times.
This new means of value generation requires a completely new approach to ways of working. This applies whether you are in a service/product design, process improvement, operations or software engineering role and whether you are a senior leader or a junior leader. Agile is one of many possible practices, along with Lean, DevOps and more; however, it is not the ‘end’ in itself. Improvement can be elusive – organisations can be ‘doing Agile’ and not seeing any improvement in their outcomes