Steve Denning

“From Operational to Strategic Agility”

This one-day workshop on the 6th of July would introduce participants to the concept of Strategic Agility. Strategic Agility is vital because it’s central to the key business issue: how to make money from Agile? If the Agile movement was only about creating great workplaces for software developers (also important) but didn’t generate better business outcomes, its life expectancy wouldn’t be long. The concept shows participants how to apply the concept and equip them with a draft action plan for their own organization.

Managers, executives and Agile leaders at every level of the organization.

It is important to distinguish between Operational Agility— i.e. making the existing products better, faster, cheaper and so on for existing customers—and Strategic Agility— i.e. creating new markets with new products that reach new customers through market-creating innovation.

Much of what we see in Agile software development today is operational Agility. It’s about making the existing products better, faster, cheaper and so on for existing customers. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, operational Agility is usually a requirement of staying in business, i.e. surviving. It’s also the foundation for Strategic Agility, i.e. for thriving. In general, a firm won’t be able to generate new products for new customers unless it has also mastered Operational Agility.

But if a firm wants strong financial returns today, it will usually need to go beyond operational Agility and pursue market-creating innovations, i.e. Strategic Agility. To accomplish that, it will generally need to be making decisions at a level higher than that of the team, and in a different way from many of the current approaches in Agile software development. That’s because there are many pressures for a team or unit to focus on improving existing products and existing customers, rather than looking beyond that to the next big thing.

Learning goals
The workshop will explain the four key steps that you’ll need to achieve Strategic Agility—and a prosperous financial future.
Participants will learn the NABC playbook:

  • incorporating Need for the product/service

  • Approach to meeting the need

  • Benefits for the customers and the producer

  • the Competition that the offering will have to overcome

Participants will also learn the relationship of the NABC approach to the Lean Startup methodology and traditional corporate approaches to strategic planning.) Participants will also learn what’s involved in changing an organizational culture to embrace Strategic Agility—perhaps the most difficult task an organizational leader will ever have to undertake.

Learning outcomes
Learning outcomes are:

  • Understanding both the importance and the limitations of Operational Agility

  • Learning why Strategic Agility is the key to strong financial returns.

  • Grasping the four key steps needed to establish Strategic Agility—the NABC playbook.

  • Understanding the strong headwinds facing Strategic Agility in a large firm.

  • Understanding how to change an organizational culture.

Prerequisite knowledge
Participants should have mastered the basics of Operational Agility, with a clear understanding of the need for an Agile mindset that embodies:

  • 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 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 Network (the linchpin of Agile) concerns what’s involved in making the entire organization Agile—a fluid interactive network, rather than a top-down command-and-control bureaucracy.

Details of the session
The session will be highly interactive both with the presenter and with other participants.

  • It will begin with a presentation of the concept of Strategic Agility.

  • The participants will share their own experiences in successive conversations, including

    • their understanding of the difference between Operational and Strategic Agility

    • their own experience with the potential and limitations of Operational Agility

    • the prospects and constraints facing Strategic Agility in their own organization.

    • a review of their current organizational culture and the compatibility—or lack thereof—with Strategic Agility

    • thoughts towards an action plan for their own organization

  • The flow of workshop will be driven in large part by the interests and preoccupations of the participants.

  • The outcome of the workshop is that participants would leave with a draft action plan for undertaking Strategic Agility in their own organization.



Regular ticket + Workshop = € 1,146.50

We will contact you for more info to subscribe for the workshop

Workshop = € 995,-

You can subscribe via the website of the Agile Academy directly

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