From the Inside Flap
We are at the genesis of a new age — the age of Agile. It’s an exhilarating time, because unprecedented change can happen nearly overnight. Why? Because a truly “agile” organization connects everyone and everything . . . all the time. It is capable of delivering instant, intimate, frictionless value on a large scale.
But how? How can a complex company such as Ericsson, Barclays, Fidelity Investments, or Microsoft jump into new initiatives with the nimbleness of an athlete? How can large organizations act like small entrepreneurs? In The Age of Agile, you will learn the principles and techniques that make up Agile management. Originally developed in the software industry, this flexible approach to management has been refined and molded to function powerfully in industry after industry: technology, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, health, telecommunications, aircraft, automobiles—nearly any field.
The Age of Agile unpacks the groundbreaking ideas and practices that are remaking the very foundations of business. Agile isn’t simply a new “process” to be grafted onto current management practice. It is a fundamentally different concept — a new mindset — about the structure of your company . . . and how you must operate to succeed in today’s world.
Reporting from the frontlines, author Steve Denning takes you deep into the Agile management revolution. He provides specific, inspiring examples of how some of today’s enlightened companies are leveraging the power of Agile, including firms such as: Airbnb, Amazon, Etsy, Facebook, Google, Lyft, Menlo Innovations, Saab, Samsung, Spotify, Tesla, Uber, and Warby Parker.
Drawing on lessons learned from these bold companies and his own ongoing practice, Denning demystifies Agile by providing three “laws” that make it practical and clear:
• The Law of the Small Team shows how to operate in a “VUCA” world (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity). Using this law, difficult problems are split into manageable batches and performed by small cross-functional, self-governing teams, working iteratively in short cycles, with fast feedback from customers and end-users.
• The Law of the Customer flows from the epic shift in power in the marketplace from seller to buyer, and the need for firms to radically accelerate their ability to make decisions and change direction in light of unexpected events and new customer demands. It amounts to a Copernican revolution in management.
• The Law of the Network (the linchpin of Agile) illustrates what’s involved in making the entire organization Agile.
Becoming “agile” is a continuing journey, not a finite accomplishment. You’ll know your company has joined the fray when its goal has shifted from creating profits to creating delighted customers. And you’ll find that not focusing on “making money” . . . makes more money.
Stephen Denning is a renowned Agile advocate who serves on the advisory board of the Drucker Forum. He is a former World Bank executive and author of several books including The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management.