We celebrated the first annual Business Agility Conference February 22-25 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in New York. Conceived by Evan Leybourn and a hardy crew of organizers, this event was a sold-out success for a first conference of its type, generating huge buzz at #bizagility17.
What do we mean by Business Agility, and what does it have to do with “Agile?” For the last decade and more “Agile” conferences have been growing by leaps and bounds, including conferences sponsored by Agile Alliance, Scrum Alliance, and local groups in every major city. Agile conferences focus on software product development – practices that have revolutionized solution deployment in today’s cloud environment.
Even for a non-software person, it’s apparent that something has been going on in the Agile world that promises evolution in the way all of us work together. The promise of Agile is doing more with less, in a fraction of the time, in a way that delights customers. It’s about finding simple ways to cope with complexity.
Agile speaks of work processes that all of us can adopt:
- Keeping radical focus on the customer
- Planning for uncertainty
- Empowering of small, cross-functional teams to prioritize and manage work
- Breaking work into small slices to reduce the mental overburden of “much ado about too much”
- Building a culture that encourages engagement, experimentation and learning
Software Agility is about technical design and execution. Business Agility is a bigger concept. It’s about the capacity of your enterprise to sense change and opportunity from top to bottom, and respond in ways that provide innovative value and sustain competitive advantage.
We heard about how these ideas have been applied holistically in a variety of industries, including banking, government, health care, printing, and food. And, we learned how others are applying agility to HR, budgeting, marketing and leadership development, among other non-tech functions of business.
Personally, I’ve been working to apply these ideas to strategic planning and execution for several years now, and presented a case study on how I’d applied these principles in a social services agency and a health care organization.
To stay tuned for next year, get on the mailing list here.