Enterprise Agility

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Enterprise Agility
Scaling agility across divisions, departments, the organisation and ultimately between organisations.

We are only now starting to think about Enterprise Agility as a discrete domain. Over the last 20 years, as individual teams became agile, the constraining factor for agility to scale was the other teams within the division. Now, as entire divisions and departments scale to become agile, the constraining factor for agility is the rest of the organisation.

"An organisation can only be as agile as it's least agile division!" - Evan Leybourn

Enterprise Agility emerges when there is an agile way of working across multiple teams and divisions. From a systems perspective, it can help to think of work in your organisation as a flow. We have a pipeline of demand on one side and delivery to our users on the other. Somewhere along this flow is the next limiting constraint to business agility. 20 years ago, that was IT and the software teams. Which is why it was logical for Agile to emerge in that domain. But now there are new constraints that require a wider view. It differs across organisations but I have generally found that the PMO, HR, sales or finance departments are the next teams that need to be agile. In most organisations, we have an 18 month budgeting process limiting a development cycle that can deploy every day.

These are not easy problems to solve. It becomes even harder once you include external organisations (see Agile Contracts) with a completely separate culture. You need to help these divisions internalise an agile mindset and culture as well as providing appropriate Technical Agility practices aligned to their work context. This is key to achieving Enterprise Agility and ultimately true business agility.