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The first half of the book is about agile management and is pretty good. The last half of the book devolves into a LONG diatribe against maximizing shareholder value. This is literally half of the book.
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I have been following Steve Denning and his storytelling for a while now. The "Age of Agile" is an updated version of his earlier book from 2010 - "Radical Management". If you haven't read that one, skip it and read this one instead.
As a practicing Agile coach and transformation agent, I can empathize with Steve's views on Agility. Agility is certainly a strong organizational competitive advantage, but it is an answer amongst other things - he does take elements of that on in the second part of the book including moving from shareholder centricity to being client-centric, stock-market manipulations, etc.
One missing piece is innovation, there is an assumption that just being agile could make organizations innovative - though possible, in the complex domain without building an organization that is capable of identifying and nurturing innovation and thinking outside-the-box to build resilience is a missing piece.
A good read for Leaders and Managers, especially to those thinking of "Business Agility" and "Strategic Agility" though I wonder whether the people who would need to imbibe and introduce real change might be put off by his brutal honesty and the complexity of the magnitude of change required to introduce the new reality.
If only organizations would change by reading a $10 book, if only... :-)
Any additional comments?
The author is extremely dogmatic throughout the entire book which makes it somewhat of a painful listen. Some useful takeaways but I would not recommend this book.
Just to use an example. Making claims like focusing on a small team, customers and the network effect should justify a Nobel Prize in business is equivalent to arguing better eating, more exercise, less stress and focus on sleep would justify the same in medicine. These are not revolutionizing views and have been used in practice well before someone coined the phrase Agile.
While I agree that corporations often fall victim of short term focus, but arguing for outlawing share buybacks because some companies rely on it during the wrong time is quite extreme. Prohibiting companies from buying back shares but allowing them to issue an infinite amount of shares could equally have unfavorable systemic consequences.
The author seems to argue innovation for the sake of innovation which is contrary to the conclusions made by Jim Collins and Morten Hansen in Great by Choice.