What Gaps Does the Business Agility Manifesto Address?
I've been asked why my co-authors and I created the Business Agility Manifesto. What gap were we trying to fill? What problem were we trying to address?
In developing the Manifesto we were trying to close at least two gaps. They are big gaps — so big they are hard to see and nail down. As an aside, it took us fully a year to develop the Manifesto.
Fortunately, the two gaps are actually one and the same thing, just looking at the problem from different perspectives.
Gap 1. We're all aware that agile software development and agile business analysis — all things 'agile' — have had a big impact on the industry.
Agile thinking (and its set of practices) is evolving rapidly, and is now moving well beyond the confines of IT. It focuses on what I'd call the social or organizational dimension of agility — energizing the work of teams, organizations and leadership. Those are important and exciting developments.
But agile anything does not guarantee business agility.
Today there are deep, structural problems about how we handle business knowledge that will severely limit the effectiveness of any social or organizational remedies. In the Manifesto, we get at root causes — long-term fundamental issues.
Gap 2. Industry-wide, it's clear to us that although we are now in a knowledge economy, companies aren't acting like it. They simply haven't adjusted to the new reality. There's a huge gap between what's needed to meet the fast-paced, knowledge-intense demands of the marketplace and the ability of current approaches and systems to address it.
The Manifesto explains what the business and practitioners need to do to adjust and thrive in this new reality. Companies and projects must get their act together — and soon!
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when we entered the knowledge age, but the emergence of digital thinking and tools — and bots and machine learning, and all the like — clearly signals we're in an altogether new era with respect to knowledge.
 The Business Agility Manifesto: Building for Change, by Roger T. Burlton, Ronald G. Ross, and John A. Zachman, 2017, https://busagilitymanifesto.org/
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