Business Agility with the Heart of Agile

Anthony Coppedge
2 min readOct 4, 2023

No matter the business you’re in or the clients you serve, there is a place for actual business agility by thinking about that image above and seeing it as a never-ending cycle:

Truly collaborate.

Deliver value.

Reflect frequently.

Continuously improve.

Repeat: Forever.

Truly collaborate: Real, true collaboration cannot happen until and unless there is coordination. Coordinating cannot happen until and unless there is consistent and clearly aligned communication.

Deliver value: Frequent outputs (doing stuff; being busy; checking off to-do lists) may or may not deliver value. Instead, focus on what small amount of value (or portion of that value) you and your team can deliver each day or each week. Prioritizing the creation and delivery of actual valuable outputs will reveal if you’re delivering valuable outcomes (which is the actual point).

Reflect frequently: How often is ‘frequently’? As often as it makes sense to pause and reflect in order to determine how to continue. Retrospectives (read this book by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen — ‘Agile Retrospectives’) are how individuals and teams create a pattern and habit of learning and sharing in order to prioritize and deprioritize the next steps. For many, this is weekly or fortnightly.

Continuously improve: 1% better in any given area isn’t much, but the cumulative effect of 1% over time adds up to substantial growth. And, remember, there are only two ways to improve: increase upside or decrease downside.

A guy named Alistair Cockburn wrote a piece a while back called the “Heart of Agile” (see the image above) and I resonate with his thinking. This is my riff on that work, so hat-tip to Alistair. I’d like to buy you drinks and share stories sometime.

#agile #business #retrospectives #agility #businessagility #continuouslearning

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Anthony Coppedge

I lead the vision for how business agility is infused in Digital Sales at IBM. I relish the chance to sabotage mediocrity.