The Prime Directive: Anchor Point of the Business Agility Manifesto

Ronald G.  Ross
Ronald G. Ross Co-Founder & Principal, Business Rule Solutions, LLC , Executive Editor, Business Rules Journal , and Co-Chair, Building Business Capability (BBC) Read Author Bio       || Read All Articles by Ronald G. Ross

The Business Agility Manifesto[1] kicks off with a statement it calls the Prime Directive:  "All initiatives must demonstrably align with the Management Imperatives."  Why is that important?

The Prime Directive is the anchor point of the Manifesto and a key determinant of the shape it took.  It's the way you demonstrate the Manifesto is solidly grounded in reality.

Let me put it this way.  Today you hear a lot of discussion about how to flatten organizational hierarchies.  About servant leadership.  Self-organizing teams.  Teams of teams.

At the extreme, radical proponents of blockchain distributed ledgers and smart contracts even suggest that ultimately it might be possible for corporations to disappear altogether.  At that point we reach a nirvana where everyone is a free agent creating value.

It's time here for a healthy dose of reality.  Yes, corporations are in a period of rapid transformation, but let me assure you they are not going to disappear.  Corporations will continue to own and protect assets for the foreseeable future.

Owning assets means you need authority.  Needing authority means you need executive management.  Future management structures may not be shaped or act at all like today's, but executive management will continue to exist.  Count on it.

So anything you say about business agility must be aligned with responsibility for protecting and managing assets.  Otherwise you are just kidding yourself.  You are dealing only in surface effects.

The Manifesto material therefore takes the crucial step of elaborating the responsibilities of executive management in what it calls the Management Imperatives.[2]  There are no real surprises in it, just the deep grounding needed to ensure proper orientation in identifying the principles by which you should operate.

The Manifesto elaborates what those principles are.  If you want to argue with them, first you need to contest the Management Imperatives.  You can try if you like, but frankly I think they are unassailable.  It's just reality.

References

[1]  The Business Agility Manifesto:  Building for Change, by Roger T. Burlton,  Ronald G. Ross, and John A. Zachman, (2017) https://busagilitymanifesto.org/ return to article

[2]  General Management Imperatives:  Business Basis for The Business Agility Manifesto, by Roger T. Burlton,  Ronald G. Ross, and John A. Zachman, (2017) https://busagilitymanifesto.org/management-imperatives return to article

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Standard citation for this article:


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Ronald G. Ross , "The Prime Directive: Anchor Point of the Business Agility Manifesto" Business Rules Journal Vol. 19, No. 5, (May 2018)
URL: http://www.brcommunity.com/a2018/b952.html

About our Contributor:


Ronald  G. Ross
Ronald G. Ross Co-Founder & Principal, Business Rule Solutions, LLC , Executive Editor, Business Rules Journal , and Co-Chair, Building Business Capability (BBC)

Ronald G. Ross is Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rule Solutions, LLC, where he actively develops and applies the IPSpeak methodology including RuleSpeak®, DecisionSpeak and TableSpeak.

Ron is recognized internationally as the "father of business rules." He is the author of ten professional books including the groundbreaking first book on business rules The Business Rule Book in 1994. His newest are:


Ron serves as Executive Editor of BRCommunity.com and its flagship publication, Business Rules Journal. He is a sought-after speaker at conferences world-wide. More than 50,000 people have heard him speak; many more have attended his seminars and read his books.

Ron has served as Chair of the annual International Business Rules & Decisions Forum conference since 1997., now part of the Building Business Capability (BBC) conference where he serves as Co-Chair. He was a charter member of the Business Rules Group (BRG) in the 1980s, and an editor of its Business Motivation Model (BMM) standard and the Business Rules Manifesto. He is active in OMG standards development, with core involvement in SBVR.

Ron holds a BA from Rice University and an MS in information science from Illinois Institute of Technology. Find Ron's blog on http://www.brsolutions.com/category/blog/. For more information about Ron visit www.RonRoss.info. Tweets: @Ronald_G_Ross

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