Steve Denning – who’s become one of my favorite mgmt guru’s – has, in addition to his books, written numerous papers on modern management principles, principles very much in line with agility.
Here’s a couple of those papers, both well worth the time to read them:
How do you explain Radical Management (or Agile) to a CFO ? In this paper, Denning points out the fundamental difference between focusing on cost versus focusing on value: traditional corporations are managed almost exclusively with cost as the prime parameter, whereas agility demands focusing on value (or throughput, as Denning refers to it in the paper). CFO’s are the epitome of the cost focus mindset, so if you manage to explain agility and Radical management to a CFO, you can explain it to anyone.
The best kept management secret on the planet (Agile) Here, Denning demonstrates that agility is a “grass roots” movement, still virtually ignored in most business school curriculas, as well as by most current management or executive practitioners. At business level, most of today’s large organizations are still practicing the command & control management “best” practices from the dawn of industrialization, with deep organizational hierarchies, heavy processes with limited business value-generation, and with an inside-out vs outside-in (customer focus) view of the world.
The ironic thing is that while businesses today acknowledge that they are in desperate need of radically improved speed and innovation capability, they still stick to 200 years old “best” management and organizational practices that effectively make it impossible to improve speed and innovation, and ultimately, the business bottom line.