What’s the Hurry? Building a Digital Enterprise

By Jim Highsmith and David Robinson Are the forces behind digital business, just one more wave of technology fueled change or is today’s business environment fundamentally different? If different, what are the critical capabilities required to survive and thrive? Examples of the differences assault us in the media. Doug Stephens, author of The Retail Revival, says, […] The post What’s...

Don’t “Control” Agile Projects

One common complaints about agile methods is that management doesn’t have the same degree of “control” over projects. We need to stop worrying about this complaint as a vice and start thinking of it as a virtue. When we “control” agile projects...

Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

A couple of years ago I was talking to the CEO of a medium-sized company. “We started the year with 10 strategic initiatives,” he said. “It’s now May and we’ve scrapped 4 of them and added 3 new ones. We are committed to being agile and flexible in our...

Adaptive Leadership eBook Just Published!

My new eBook, Adaptive Leadership: Accelerating Enterprise Agility is out! We are at a tipping point. Technology—cloud, big data, mobility, social media—tops CEO’s list of concerns per a recent IBM study. “There has been no other point in history when so...

Why Even Good Managers Cause Projects to Fail

In December 1999 I published my first “agile” book, Adaptive Software Development (wow, nearly 15 years ago now). Recently, Dorset House Publishing and Addison-Wesley brought out an electronic edition of this book. To promote this edition we selected...

The Four Dimensions of Adaptability

I was reminded recently that people think of adaptability in too few dimensions. To me adaptability and agility are synonyms characterized by “the ability to both create and respond to change.” I might extend this definition to include both anticipated and...

Once Upon a Time before Agile

Once upon a time, before “agile”, the IT world teemed with scary monsters—huge methodologies in multiple 3-ring binders, processes stacked upon processes and excruciatingly detailed documents ad infinitum. This was the 1980’s when proponents of methodologies...

You Can’t Plan Away Uncertainty

I’ve recently moved from Venice, Florida back to the West—to Lafayette, Colorado near Boulder to be specific. As I launch my cycling activity here I was reminded of an article I wrote several years ago on Hudson Bay Starts. Riding in the Boulder/Lafayette area...

Organizing for Innovation

One of the constant questions I get goes something like, “Should we create a separate agile group, team, department, product team, or plan our agile transformation within our current organization?” This question arises for agile transformations, but also for...

Determining Business Value

The topic of business value is a complex one and it’s easy to get mired in the morass of calculating ROI or in trying to define what intangibles are relevant to your organization. What I will attempt to do in this blog is provide a model for looking at business...

How Agile Do You Need to Be?

In The Upside of Turbulence Donald Sull makes an insightful statement, “companies do not pass through life cycles, opportunities do.” Turbulence causes opportunities and companies learn to take advantage of them, or they wither. Managing this flow of opportunities,...

Effective Collaboration: Discussion, Decision Making, Commitment

The Agile community promotes the value of collaboration in teams, although promotes may too weak a verb for our fascination with collaboration. And while collaboration can have many benefits, in practice we often act as if collaboration was mostly about talking...

Embracing Paradox

“All of us like to think that human affairs are essentially rational. … The wealth of experience that fails to support this notion never seems to faze us. … That human affairs usually work not rationally but paradoxically.” “… because of the sense of...


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