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June 11, 2012



Fantastic article Irving esp. salient now given many of us are in the midst of the spring strategy planning cycle.

Charlie Alfred


Excellent post on a very important topic. However, I must share a strong concern that it paints agility and strategy in the wrong light.

"Top down strategy plans take too long to formulate and generally don’t work so well because technologies and markets are changing so fast." I definitely agree with this.

"Agility beats strategy every time." I disagree strongly with this.

Agility without strategy is Brownian Motion. Strategy without agility is "no time-limit" chess between skeletons.

Like Batman and Robin, agility and strategy are partners, not opponents like Batman and the Joker. As a society, we lose when we talk ourselves into believing that they are mutually exclusive alternatives.

One definition of strategy is that it is: a core set of decisions intended to overcome high priority challenges in order to achieve important objectives.

Several things can challenges high-priority:
- importance of the objectives (like curing cancer)
- difficulty of the obstacles (like climbing Everest)
- lack of stability in the surroundings (like today's economy)
- centrality of the decisions (how many things depend on them)

Agile strategy is about quickly sizing up the goals, obstacles, risks, and inherent system dependencies, figuring out which are the most significant, and making as good of a decision as possible about them.


Fabulous post -- and gets to one of my biggest ROI/Financial calculations of corporations - sunk costs! they are sunk! done, over. Getting the C-suite to look at "opportunity gains" in terms of what are you giving up because you're stuck in the past, because you want to fully utilize your 'sunk costs' what 'opportunity gains' are you losing?? They don't fully understand the cost of not innovating, only the capital/resource costs of innovating...

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