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How to make the whole organization “Agile”

Stephen Denning (Allio Associates LLC)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 18 July 2016




Agile is the umbrella term for a family of management practices, which include Scrum, Kanban, and Lean. To investigate Agile management as it was being practiced in large firms, in 2015 Scrum Alliance, whose mission is “to transform the world of work,” launched a Learning Consortium for the Creative Economy (LC), composed of a group of firms that included Microsoft, Ericsson, Magna International, Riot Games and others.


The group conducted site visits to learn from each other’s experiences with Agile. The questions to be explored included: To what extent are Agile management practices in fact occurring at scale in old and new firms? How effective are these management practices? Is it possible for the whole firm, particularly older firms with entrenched bureaucratic cultures, to become Agile?


The LC found that Agile management is already taking hold in large-scale implementations in both new and old firms. The LC observed that some firms were implementing Agile for large-scale, complex business challenges in areas beyond software, including operations where reliability is an issue.

Practical implications

Agile was seen as a different way of understanding and acting in the world. The successful firms were “being Agile,” not merely “doing Agile” within their existing management framework.


In the world of Agile management, delivering value to customers is the goal of every individual in the organization. Profits are seen as the result, not the goal. The Learning consortium sites visit offer managers an opportunity to study this philosophy in practice.



Denning, S. (2016), "How to make the whole organization “Agile”", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 44 No. 4, pp. 10-17.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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