Friday, November 23, 2007

FT piece on business and software agility

The Financial Times carried a piece on Wednesday entitled ‘Agility: Flexibility takes over from planning’. It starts off about agile business but actually spends most of piece talking about agile software development. Both the presence of the piece, and the evidence in it suggests agile is getting more prevalent.

Nice definition of company agility from Professor Donald Sull of London Business School:

“he defines [agility] as a company’s ability consistently to identify and seize opportunities more quickly and effectively than rivals.”

What is interesting about this definition is that it says nothing about what you do, or how you do it. Instead it measures agility by comparison with your competitors.

Slightly disappointing that the examples the article cites are the same examples that come up again and again, Zara, BT and perhaps slightly new, Borland.

If you have the time, this piece from the same issue is also worth a look: ‘Why do so many technology projects end in failure?’ This picks up on the EDS / BSkyB court case I commented on a couple of weeks ago.

Its a shame the editors didn’t link the two pieces. In the long term Agile is about seizing opportunities before your competitors, in the short term it is about delivering IT projects on time, on budget and without court cases.

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