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A Look at Agile – the Word

First and foremost, Agile is one of the most radical hijackings of human language. “Oh you mean agile in the sense of nimble? That’s not what Agile means. Agile means instant, frictionless and intimate delivery of value.” Steve Denning told me in a recent conversation. Problem is: First, Steve’s right. Second, most stakeholders of Agile organisations haven’t understood that yet. Third, you can’t blame them, because confusion is what you get when you hijack an existing word for something different. Fourth, the confusion is cunningly hidden by the fact that to some extent there is an overlap between Agile and agile: both include in their meaning the capability of an organisation to deal better with complex, unpredictable, shifting environments. But soon after, the overlap comes to an end. Both for Agilists and their stakeholders, that area would be a healthy focus of learning.

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