What is the difference between agile and agility?

‘Agility’ is our ability to respond to change.

We know that companies, teams, and individuals who cannot respond to the changes around them struggle to compete, perform and succeed. If you can think of an organization that has gone out of business, lost significant market share, or begun to lack credibility in the eyes of its customers, then you are probably seeing the effects of a lack of agility.

The world around us is changing faster than ever. For a business to succeed, what is often known as ‘business agility is paramount. Business agility is responding to changing customer demand, market conditions, new technology entrants, and even legislation or customer perceptions.

Keeping one step ahead of the game requires emotional maturity and clarity of thought. There’s a fine line between chaos and carefully deviating from the plan in a considered way to meet changing demands. This is where agile comes in.

What is agile?

Agile is a bunch of tools and techniques that help us achieve agility.

There’s nothing new under the sun, so you’d probably recognize some of them as a simple extension of some classic ways of working. For example, planning is an agile tool. You’d probably always plan whatever you did, but like all agile methods, the key difference is that the agile planning session would be short, focused, and done as a team.

Putting people at the center is at the heart of every agile method and you can probably spot any agile technique in the wild quite easily – if it involves a cross-section of skills and disciplines collaborating, it’s likely to be agile in action.

Agile frameworks like Scrum and Kanban are a good place to start if you’d like to start being agile or introduce agility into your organization.

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