Summary of The Age of Agile


The Age of Agile book summary
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Good management practices stop working amid rapid change. For that reason, many businesses have chosen to adopt agile management practices. In 2001, the pioneers of this approach, which originated in the software development industry, created the “Manifesto for Agile Software Development,” often called the “Agile Manifesto.” This core document asserts that developers of high-quality software must abandon some of the core principles of 20th-century management to enter “the age of agile.” Management expert Stephen Denning lucidly explains the origins and principles of agile management with illustrative case studies.

About the Author

Stephen Denning worked at the World Bank for several decades in various management positions. A consultant to governments and companies, he’s written business books, many articles on management, a novel and a volume of poetry.



The US Army and Agile Management

Toward the end of 2003, the US Army’s Task Force had a dilemma in Iraq. Despite its superior training and equipment, it couldn’t defeat its poorly armed opponents. General Stanley McChrystal, one of the US Army’s most acclaimed commanders, took charge that October. At first, he couldn’t grasp how a motley group of insurgents could defeat his troops. In time, he came to understand that while the task force functioned well following its training and routines, its foes worked as a flexible network. In a highly volatile situation, a military machine couldn’t match an agile insurgent network.

McChrystal found he was making decisions from headquarters that his teams should have been making on the ground. Though sophisticated, the task force functioned slowly. Its plans became outmoded before it could enact them. Each part of the task force concentrated on its own duties, and its teams didn’t work collectively to defeat the enemy. The task force found coordinating with other organizations such as the CIA, the FBI and the NSA a daunting challenge. McChrystal transformed the task force from a bureaucracy into a network. ...

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    D. M. 5 months ago
    Very biased! Why bring up Iraq in the middle! Very disrespectful. Instead of calling them “extremists” think why US went to Iraq!
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      Erica Rauzin 5 months ago
      Since we try very hard not to be biased (see our new abstract "Subtle Acts of Exclusion"), I have changed "extremists" to "opponents." We adhere to the author's content in order to bring readers an accurate summary of the book, but I think this is still accurate while responding to your concern. E. Rauzin, Senior Managing Editor, getAbstract
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    S. S. 2 years ago
    I loved this abstract. It’s the need of our time. Agility, grit and consistency are my 3 favourite words.
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    R. S. 2 years ago
    The whole book is excellent. This extract leaves out the important argument that the 'Law of the Customer' dictates that the purpose of every business should be the pleasure of its customers not profit for the shareholders. The economy based on shareholder profits, according to Denning, is responsible for inequality among the citizens and disengagement among the workforces around the world. Denning believes that nobody should go to a boring and mundane job in 21st century. Workers should work to delight "the customers in ways that are financially sustainable". Chapter 12 ('Nuclear Winters and Golden Ages') is worth reading many times over. When I finished the book, I read Chapter 12 again. It is a manifesto for worker engagement, autonomy, empowerment and creativity. It attacks 'shareholder value' as the unreliable goal of any business replacing it with creating value and delight for the customers. "Creating" value is always better than "extracting" value as value creation gives workers autonomy to express their desire to innovate whereas value extraction treats human workers as sources of value to be mined and exploited.
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    C. .. 2 years ago
    Great one
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    C. .. 2 years ago
    Crear one
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    M. v. 2 years ago
    The book is great, but this abstract leaves out way too much information - chapters 5 through 12 are missing from the abstract.