Agile, without mission = Futile

Adapt2Market Adapt2Tech

Is being Adaptable same as being Agile? After all, so many volumes have been written about agile being the panacea for fast-changing, market-driven organizations. The simple answer is No. Being Agile in response to changes is necessary but not sufficient to be adaptable.

For example, one of the fastest changing marketplaces visible to almost everyone is the stock market. Literally, thousands and thousands of stocks / derivatives and options keep fluctuating with price, volume and a ton of other metrics (aka the Greeks). Someone following these changes in a very agile manner, without sticking to their mission of why they are investing in the market will end up with a lot of churn and transaction fees, but not necessarily with any economic benefits.

And herein lies the paradox. While being agile in the market is needed, that is not the core mission. The mission remains to grow the portfolio for retirement or kids education or whatever they are working towards. The alignment to that mission and being agile around it is the key.

Same holds true for organizations. Some of recent IT delivery organizations have started believing and doing Agile, without aligning first to the core their mission, ie, serve their business goals. That leads to many IT delivery organizations with a ton of jargon, lofty goals and ceremonies etc but without aligning to their business mission, that agility does not yield much benefit.

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