Directing the Agile Organisation

Processes for Lean Business Management - published June 2013

Improve business adaptability, staff engagement and quality for the benefit of your customers.

Business systems do not always end up the way that we first plan them. Requirements can change to accommodate a new strategy, a new target or a new competitor. In these circumstances, conventional business management methods often struggle and a different approach is required.

Agile Business Management is a series of concepts and processes for the day-to-day management of an organisation. As an Agile manager, you need to understand, embody and encourage these concepts. By embracing and shaping change within your organisation you can take advantage of new opportunities and outperform your competition.

Changing the way you and your business operate

Using a combination of first-hand research and in-depth case studies, Directing the Agile Organisation offers a fresh approach to business management, applying Agile processes pioneered in the IT and manufacturing industries. Agile Business Management is divided into four domains, which each require change to the way your business operates.

  1. Chapter 1 looks at your role as a manager. How will your responsibilities change under Agile Business Management? What techniques can you use to manage your staff?
  2. Chapter 2 discusses your organisation’s relationship and interaction with its customers. What are their needs and goals, and how can you work together to achieve them?
  3. Chapter 3 provides the organisational context in which Agile Business Management operates. It discusses lean management structures, agile team structures and the techniques to manage different types of staff, teams and organisations.
  4. Chapter 4 looks at how you and your team work the “agile way” and describes tools and techniques to help optimise workflow, exploit change and manage customer requirements.

The book closes with a look at associated financial models that support your Agile organisation, the processes you can use to run an Agile Business Management transformation, and the first steps to take towards that transformation.

Directing the Agile Organisation will be of interest to managers and senior executives who want to improve business processes in order to remain competitive in today's market.

Discover how Agile Business Management enables better staff engagement, more dynamic customer relationships and prevents projects being hampered by out-of-date requirements.


Agile is about change; changing how you think, changing how you work and changing the way you interact. By accepting, embracing and shaping change, you can take advantage of new opportunities and outperform and out-compete in the market. Sounds simple, however change, by its very nature, is not easy.

The concepts in this book redefine what it means to do business. Called Agile Business Management; this is a series of concepts & processes for the day-to-day management of organisations regardless of industry, size or location. The end goal is to deliver high quality, regular & iterative outcomes for your Customers through a set of lightweight, adaptive, highly productive, and low waste business processes.

Agile Business Management is not a quick win, it is not a 3 step plan to a "better" business. Agile Business Management is hard work & requires a new way of thinking about the traditional business practices of hierarchical corporate structures, customer engagement, staff management, and work processes.


This book divides Agile Business Management into four core domains, each requiring corresponding changes to the way your business operates.

  1. The first domain is you, the Agile Manager. Though it may seem daunting, changing the mindset & processes of business management is probably the easiest change to make. Requiring only an open mind and a willingness to adapt to a changing business environment.
  2. The second domain is the changing relationship between you and your Customer and the way in which they interact. Under Agile Business Management, Customers take on direct responsibility for Work outcomes. Your teams and Customers work closely together, collaborating towards the desired outcomes. To be agile means to be flexibile and adaptable to changing circumstances, and nothing changes more than your customers needs.
  3. The third domain is the agile organisational structure. How you manage your staff, the heart of your business, and how they relate to the rest of the organisation. This is a change from a traditional hierarchy towards self-empowered individuals & teams. One of the strengths of Agile Business Management is the focus on personal empowerment, developing engaged staff as a mechanism to drive improved customer outcomes. Empowerment is unfortunately difficult to define and measure, however the outcome is where employees have the responsibility and the authority to deliver to the customer's requirements.
  4. Having examined the role of the customer and team, it's time to get to work, the fourth and final domain. Agile Business Management uses a Just In Time planning approach and an iterative or incremental Work process that allows for rapid change when scope & circumstances change. Customers work alongside the team to shape & direct the outcomes, while the team regularly deliver partial, though functional, products to the Customer. The product itself will continue to evolve as each iteration builds upon the last.


Benefits of this iterative model include;

  • reduced overtime through easily measurable work and clearly defined outcomes,
  • a repeatable estimation mechanism to aid in workload management,
  • a known rate of work (velocity) which improves forward planning,
  • higher quality work through embedded testing and Q/A processes,
  • simplification of work by focusing on immediate, short-term deliverables, and
  • greater customer satisfaction through early, regular and targeted delivery.

Agile Business Management has been many years in the making and draws on the underlying principles and concepts of the Agile movement. Originally developed by the software engineering industry, you can apply most of the concepts of Agile technical and non-technical organisations of any size. The governance concepts and processes have been implemented across numerous organisations & departments from managing people and resources, operations management, financial management, sales and marketing processes, IT support, and of course software engineering.

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