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The Age of Agile Summary

6 min read ⌚ 

The Age of Agile PDFHow Smart Companies Are Transforming the Way Work Gets Done

Is there anything that can enhance the company’s performance? – Of course, there’s no such thing as perfection.

Stephen understands this perfectly well and devises a plan to help you utilize your resources in a much more cost-effective manner.

Improve your market position by becoming a customer-centric organization!

Who Should Read “The Age of Agile”? And Why?

Regardless of where you live, or what are you planning to do, providing service is the only way to make an honest living. “The Age of Agile” stresses the need for full-scale reforms on a managerial level by creating a superior product or service.

In our opinion, this book is a perfect match for managers and leaders in the making, and those who want to learn a thing or two about agile management.

About Stephen Denning

Stephen DenningStephen Denning is a former World Bank employee, who held several respectable management roles.

He is also the author of several books: The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management, Squirrel Inc, The Secret Language of Leadership and others.

“The Age of Agile PDF Summary”

U.S intervention in Iraq disclosed some organizational issues in the military and bureaucracy. Despite the cutting-edge technology, digital support, and weapon superiority, the U.S. Army failed to defeat the poorly equipped extremists.

General Stanley McChrystal was put in charge because of his reputation as a successful military commander. His job was to identify the reasons behind the U.S. defeat in the Middle East and see whether that has anything to do with the hierarchy.

The acclaimed General discovered that the implementation phase didn’t have the momentum to keep the operations going. The U.S. military headquarters weren’t aware that their directives were not set in motion due to misconstrued information.

The troops couldn’t enforce the orders on the battlefield, which led to total disorganization and chaos.

The intelligence gathered from CIA, FBI, NSA, was delivered to U.S. Marshals and executives who had the authorization to access such data.

Despite all the support from the Intelligence Agencies, McChrystal realized that the hierarchical chain was reducing the impact of the counterinsurgency force led by America.

McChrystal revolutionized the U.S. Army by transforming its structure into a network. In that case, a position would hold no meaning, and a person of lower rank but a higher competence can be commander-in-chief of selected kinetic or non-kinetic operations.

Businesses have also opted to stretch their perspectives, by embracing flexibility and questioning traditional rigidness. Companies and corporations of the highest order, have initiated many acts, which give power to those second-rated employees and associates.

In such open-minded and free environment, the cost-efficiency and the level of productivity grows. Creating value is not just a task for the superiors, but for all people involved in the process. They are granted the privilege of escaping the routine circle by injecting a dose of uniqueness into the job.

Japanese management, for instance, stands out from the rest, but not even their practices can handle the ever-increasing problems in all industries.

The fast-paced lifestyle forces us to adopt “agile management,” to deal with organizational issues. Rapid change inflames the situation even further and proves the ineffectiveness of the traditional management.

Agile management is at odds with much of what is practiced in public corporations and taught in business schools.

The Three Laws from “The Age of Agile”

1.      The Law of the Small Team
2.      The Law of the Customer
3.      The Law of the Network

The Law of the Small Team”

Lesser in size groups can efficiently enact various ideas, and thus enhance the performance of the team. Here’s what you should take into consideration:

“Advocate for flexibility” – Many systems don’t reach the phase of implementation due to the changes which occur after the strategy is underway. Nowadays, companies and organizations have a tough time coping with the digital demands, and macro-management has proving to be a nightmare.  

The Law of the Small Team concerns a mindset, not a specific set of tools and processes that can be written down in an operational manual.

Reducing the scope of the project or sustaining its size but splitting into few major goals delegated to smaller teams, can often straighten things out, and provide valuable deliverables.

“Use smaller teams” – Agile management sets the optimal number for most members in a group, to maximize productivity and output. 7-12 people goal-driven people, with a unique set of skills which can provide cover for the project is the ideal combination for success.

“Set deadlines” – Time = money, and your team must be aware of the importance of finishing the job in a specific time-frame.

Make sure that nothing slows the performance down, and strive to get a good display of everyone involved.

“Lay emphasis on – getting things ‘done” – This is a tricky phase and successful goal-drive teams, evaluate the effectiveness of the project by assessing their input, and the overall implementation of the agile management.

Don’t be slowed down by either paperwork nor by unfinished pending tasks, which await your final touch.  

“Work full-steam ahead” – Don’t get distracted by external factors. You can only be flexible about the methods, but the goal must always remain unchanged.

Once you started working on a project, don’t jump from one task to the next, stay concentrated and showcase your skills.

“Campaign for transparency” – Agile teams unlike traditional systems, have no trouble to spread the word if things go in the right or wrong direction.

Every party involved should share its perspective; this collective mindset is an essential pillar of the organization.

The Law of the Customer

Peter Drucker, as a management expert, revolutionized the business world in the 50s by stating that the companies should move from profit-driven to customer-driven organizations.

During those days, all companies were merely focusing their energies and efforts on creating profits, while neglecting the necessities of the customers.

Globalization sparks fierce competition; providing a valuable and superior product, or service is the only way you’re going to get to the top. From what we see, customers are now in the center of attention, and every company fights for their affection.

Firms acknowledge the absolute necessity of agile management as a tool for finishing off with flying colors.

    • Ideal Buying Persona” – Every successful business, knows its target customers. If you cast your net too wide, you risk of going home empty-handed.  
    • Conduct thorough investigation about their needs” – Their demands and wants must match the company’s vision, otherwise your business will become a sinking ship. It’d just a matter of time.
    • Outsource your work” – Start-ups can provide an excellent cover for your plans. Do what you have to do, to build a loyal customer base!  
    • Pay attention” – Make your service or product easily accessible and affordable.
    • Use your imagination” – Don’t remain stuck in your shallow mindset. Be innovative, provide some free trial, bonus, refund, make that aversion go away.
    • You can’t please everyone” – One way or the other, someone will not be too happy about your progress, but that’s none of your business.
  • Customization as a tool” – Allowing your customer to adjust the product to fit their needs can give you the edge in the struggle for superiority in the market.

The Law of the Network

Once you got all bases covered, it’s time to create a decentralized network of small teams which will enforce your strategies. Smaller groups = Greater efficiency.

Centralized chains of command, implemented in conventional management systems are not applicable in the modern age.

Top-to-bottom hierarchies are outdated, and managing large and complex organizations requires many competent leaders, who can take the “Final Shot” in the last seconds of the match.

Three main Network Chains: Top-to-bottom, Bottom-Up, and combined approach between these two.

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“The Age of Agile Quotes”

The ability to adapt to the complexity and continuous unpredictable change was more important than carefully prepared plans. Click To Tweet

Complexity responded to competence, not authority. Click To Tweet There is no longer a choice to be made between disciplined execution and innovation through teams. The new way of operating enables the firm to do both at the same time. Click To Tweet It was frustrating for managers to find that the more they tried to control things, the less progress they made. Click To Tweet The living customer with mercurial thoughts and feelings is now the center of the commercial universe. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Stephen Denning never fails to impress us with his wide array of skills.

The expertise he possesses in this realm is out of the question, and his prowess as a management expert stands to reason why we should apply the tips extracted from “The Age of Agile.”

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