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What is Agility? The definition of the agile organization

Posted by jc-Qualitystreet on 2011/02/08

The question arises regularly… so here’s my own definition of agility:

« Agility is the ability of an organization to create value and to continuously delight the customer, while promoting and responding to change in its environment »

This broader definition completes a recent quote of my fellow french blogger Claude Aubry* on Twitter, and adds  to Jim Highsmith’s definition ( »Agility is the ability to both create and respond to change in order to profit in a turbulent business environment » 2002) or Craig Larman’s definition (« Rapid and flexible response to change » 2004). While I found these good definitions very inspiring, I was missing something…

I was missing the CLIENT, the primary goal and core foundation of an organization, the means to align employees to a common vision and the key differentiator against competitors. Indeed, in today’s world of complexity and competition, the challenge is not only to deliver value early but mostly to continuously delight his primary customer.

This is the only viable purpose to be successful in the long term. For this, the agile organization must be both proactive, active and reactive, supported both by lean, agile and user eXperience practices.

Of course « being agile » is also a mindset based on core values: communication, feedback, courage, simplicity, respect and the four from the Agile Manifesto.

* « L’Agilité est la capacité d’une organisation à créer de la valeur, tout en s’adaptant -à temps- aux changements dans son environnement » 2010

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