Skip to main content

Definition of Business Agility

Business agility – we’re talking well beyond just simply “doing agile” – has been a term that businesses have been starting to adopt and take to heart in the age of digital transformations, IoT (internet of things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence).

But having an entire organization be flexible and nimble is more a mindset then simply an organizational chart change or a business process update.

Right now our world, and especially our workforce, is changing faster than ever. For those struggling with how to achieve “business agility” you simply need to be aware of your dynamic surroundings. What does business agility actually look like? How do you know when you’ve achieved it?

Let’s take the idea that for certain worldly events, organizations are deciding to shift to having employees work remotely. And so consider your own organization, whether you have or have not, had someone walk in and say “Okay – everyone work from home tomorrow!” How does your team, your company, you react? Are you excited, get the essentials from the office (don’t forget the leftovers in the fridge that could grow into their own organism…!), and ramp up to be more productive than ever tomorrow? Or do you ask a million questions and no one knows what’s going on by the time the end of the day comes around? This is the mindset portion of agility. How do you look at the challenge at hand? Is it a view of uncertainty and trepidation? Or do you see an opportunity to overcome and learn, grow and strengthen?


Moving to virtual environments, some managers worry of people not working when out of the office. Instead of “Nobody’s productive right now” thoughts, do you turn towards yourself and ask “How am I being productive?” The agile mindset would actually think about the fact that working from home keeps me more focused without constant interruptions of the office chat and meetings that go longer just cause you can sit and talk with your colleagues (just cause you can doesn’t mean you should!!). So actually in a time when I’m pulled away from a corporate setting is the perfect time for me to finally buckle down and study and obtain a certification!! Talk about adding value – working from home, being productive AND growing my own career and skill set! So the business that embraces this attitude, that encourages, supports and even demands personal growth and attention – that’s business agility! Taking advantage of a situation! As analysts we all talk about SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) – what opportunities can you now exploit to gain more value? What opportunity here, such as this to grow a weakness into a strength? And is your organization encouraging this?

And in our agile mindset, how is reflection happening? Does your company try a virtual tool to have lots of frustration? So what do they do? Keep forcing it, try to get people to give you training? What about asking for feedback and trying another tool? Asking what you use when NOT at work? How do you collaborate with others? The video on Facebook messenger works great for me for international calls and meetings – could that work for some work conversations? Keeps me feeling connected by SEEING the other person? That’s almost faster for me (one click button) than setting up a full webex (and trying to figure out how to login or call in with my phone cause VoIP isn’t working…) to just clarify a question with a colleague!

For business analysts, business agility means more than just agile, but in being flexible, adaptive and using creativity to focus on what CAN be done in a world of “can’t.” As an individual you can still drive agility by exemplify the behaviors. Adapt your analysis techniques to doing online. Need people to respond in a virtual meeting? Then try a poll in your web conference tool every 10 minutes or so. Use digital sticky notes and turn on the white board so that people can contribute! Present status reports from the view of the customer, not what you did. Help view the value of what you and your team are delivering, not just working on. When you model the behavior you are looking for, it makes it easier for others to follow and together, your team and your organizations can operate with greater agility that doesn’t only survive pandemics and world changes, but can actually survive and provide the world with greater value!