It’s hard to avoid the term “agile” these days. The concept is generating excitement and zealous supporters at big companies worldwide, as it should since it’s helped firms like ING Bank, Amazon, online music powerhouse Spotify and TV content producer Netflix to flourish. In fact, Harvard Business Review, that publishing mecca for management thinkers, has devoted no fewer than eight articles to the topic since 2016, including a cover piece this year on how to use agile to create “a truly flexible” large organization. Agile has also been the topic of bestselling books, including The Lean Startup and Scrum.
More importantly, some companies are using agile to upend the way managers at all levels make changes to their businesses – changes that have made them faster to respond to customers and competitors, leaner, and more innovative.