How do we begin to truly understand agility?
The other day, an acquaintance of mine was talking about an industry partner at the university where she worked. “Oh, you know, they’re one of those agile organizations, so they don’t have offices. Just laptops.”
This is a fairly common misconception: that agile organizations are simply less “tied down” to a physical space.
There are quite a few different perspectives about organizational agility out there; many, in my opinion, fail to capture its full significance. For some, agility is synonymous with highly informal, non-rigorous change management processes—if you are committed enough to the idea in theory, it will “just happen.” Others seem to see agility embodied in non-hierarchical organization structures—which is getting closer, but ignores other critical aspects of agility, such as culture and leadership. Yet others see it as the implementation of specific practices rooted in software development methodologies, such as Agile.