In business, the word agile risks being overused. Like most words that get thrown into the conversation from multiple directions, its meaning gets fuzzy. It gets dropped into the conversation as noun or adjective. It is shorthand for a highly efficient and effective methodology, culture, development tools, or even businesses themselves. It’s become a magnet word showing up at trade events, in vendor literature, and plopped into advertisements where there is no real reason for it to be there other than its ability to beg the question “what do you mean by that?”
Ultimately, its best contribution to our business vocabulary may be in forcing focus on the importance of developing an ability to adapt to change at the speed of change. To go in any direction required on a moment’s notice without losing speed. And at the end of the day to outperform competitors who just lumber along.
We talk a lot about agility at Kalido. We develop software that way, have created data warehousing software that builds and manages them that way, and have even created a 10-minute self-assessment for companies who want to know how they compare to some agility indices.
But personally, my favorite thing to do is to listen to Ralph Hughes talk about agile businesses, agile frameworks and agile data. He’s one of industry’s foremost authorities and authors on agility as a driver of business performance and always has fresh perspective to offer from his continuing research (10 years and counting) in the area.
Ralph will be sharing his insights in an informal two hour session February 26 in New York City. I’ll be there for sure, because if I’ve learned anything about a Ralph Hughes session on agility it is that he always provides actionable insights, but more importantly he quickly brings clarity to this fuzzy topic.