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Agile Planning

This page is home to a collection of my writing around the subject of agile planning, agile working and agile enterprise. If you’d like to understand more on the fundamentals of agile thinking, take a look at the definition of Agile Software Development, and The Agile Manifesto. And for more on how I believe agile principles can be applied to modern business and the business of communications, read these posts:

  1. Agile Planning (Redux) – A talk and presentation summarising the key principles, and a good place to start
  2. Agile Advertising – the post that began it all. Stop campaigning, start committing
  3. Agile Planning – taking the thinking further, and setting out a philosophy for a new way of working
  4. Agile Marketing – a definition that builds on the principles of The Agile Manifesto
  5. Design Thinking, Agile Enterprise – divergent, not convergent thinking within business
  6. Porous Enterprise – it’s no longer sufficient to focus on protecting existing knowledge stocks because it’s increasingly it’s about knowledge flow and your assets being more and more about your relationships.
  7. Podcast on Agility – a conversation with Johnnie Moore and Robert Paterson on the subject
  8. We Need To Rethink How We View Creativity – we put boundaries around creativity, and it needs to stop
  9. Agile Budgeting – its no good adopting nimble processes if the way in which you budget for them is still locked in the old linear, industrial, one-way thinking.
  10. Unplanning – why it’s time to move on from the outdated ‘waterfall’ planning process that plays out in most organisations
  11. The Unbundling Of Advertising – on building relationships and speed bumps
  12. The Quiet Revolution – talent complacency in the new world
  13. Caught Up In The System – organisations become systems
  14. Democratising Industry – how one company set out to be truly agile, and are re-inventing an industry while they’re at it
  15. Where Good Ideas Come From – agile enterprises create spaces for ideas to mingle
  16. The Rise Of Talent Networks – innovating corporate structures to be more nimble
  17. Ghetto testing – how building a platform to enable test-and-learn approaches can lead to dramatic success
  18. Emergence – on how complex patterns and systems can arise from relatively simple interactions
  19. Technology As A Barrier To Change – New technology is usually viewed as both a driver and an enabler of change. But sometimes the reverse is true.
  20. Design With Vision, Optimise With Feedback – when to test, and when not to test
  21. Making Stuff Hackable – designing for hackability
  22. Predicting The Unpredictable – on the untapped value that sits in corporate and public data streams
  23. When I Grow Up – the importance of agile company culture in attracting the best talent and winning
  24. The Shamrock Organisation (Redux) – on new and flexible organisational structures
  25. Planning For Streams – free-flowing and responsive content, and services and applications that are both scalable and portable
  26. What’s So Wrong With Hierarchy? – Overburdensome hierarchy creates it’s own overburdensome process. And it’s paralysing
  27. Stubborn On Vision, Flexible On Detail – Jeff Bezos on the balance between iteration and intuition
  28. Predicting the Present – competitive advantage will increasingly come from not only being able to make an informed prognosis of the future, but an informed prediction of the present. Big data approaches and tools
  29. ‘Two-Pizza’ Teams – how Amazon is able to structure it’s business to ensure agility but also a high degree of cutomer-centicity.
  30. The Three Pillars of Content Curation (Redux) on how new forms of content curation are changing the way in which we discover and consume content
  31. Slow, Fast and Spiky Communications – new patterns of communication and how building long-term value sits with short-term peaks of activity
  32. What If An Agency Had An API? – the API as a metaphor for a new way of working
  33. Revisiting T-Shaped people – why there’s reason to believe that T-Shaped talent will be critical to the future of marketing
  34. Playing The Long Game – on the unique view that Amazon takes of it’s business
  35. Massive-Scale Online Collaboration – new models and economics uniquely enabled by the internet
  36. Media = Maths + Magic – on the future of media planning and buying, and the tricky balance between automation and creativity
  37. The 70, 20, 10 Model – a model for learning and development, innovation, and now for marketing
  38. Content Curation, Stock and Flow – on the new dynamic for content
  39. Ideas From Anywhere – creative collaboration and culture in an age of change
  40. Distributed and Destination Thinking – adopting a different mindset
  41. The Rise of Product Management – a key role in developing agile structures
  42. 100 Geniuses Connected By A Travel Agent” – some great fundamentals of agile cultures and structures from an unexpected source
  43. The 70,20,10 Content Planning Model – a simple content planning model based on solid publishing principles
  44. Concurrent Production – on ‘product discovery teams’, concurrent development, and how agencies work
  45. The Real Marketing Lesson We’ve All Just Learned – Obama’s campaign is the perfect marriage between big data and storytelling
  46. Where Traditional Design Meets Startups – on subcompact publishing, design thinking and working on a start-up
  47. Communications Planning in 2013 – what’s changing, and what’s growing in importance in planning
  48. Digital Content Trends in 2013 –  what’s changing, and what’s growing in importance in content
  49. The Strategy Is Delivery – the work of the Govt Digital Service, bringing agility to government
  50. Growth Hacking – the marriage of product development and marketing
  51. Agility and Innovation – research, report and a talk on the convergence of these two critical topics
  52. Redesigning Government – more on the work of GDS, bringing agility to public services and government
  53. When Companies Become Boring – over-optimisation at the expense of human leaps of creativity or intuition
  54. Mapping Strategy, Structure and Process to Motivation – how agile cultures are about people and purpose, not just technology and process
  55. Technology, Risk and Culture – on the pitfalls of a culture that doesn’t allow for bad news, or for test and learn flexibility
  56. The Legacy Systems Issue – on the biggest barrier to digital progress and agility within organisations
  57. Should we Abolish Patents – a radical idea, but something needs to change
  58. The New Publishing Skunkworks – good example of publishing agility
  59. Systems Trump Goals – If a goal is a target that you set to acheive at some point in the future, a system is a change in behaviour, a way of continually looking for better options or creating the right habits to build toward success. 
  60. Learning From Engineers – Twitter’s engineering structure has some good learnings for companies that want to be more agile
  61. What Makes a ‘Super-Successful’ Company? – some good thoughts from Sam Altman of Loopt
  62. Holacracy at Undercurrent – an interview with Clay Parker Jones at Undercurrent talking about their implementation of Holacracy
  63. Scaling Agile at Spotify – Squads, Tribes, Chapters and Guilds, and a very agile organisational structure
  64. Google Firestarters: The Strategy is Delivery – an event focused on the Govt Digital Service as an exemplar of agility
  65. How Google Hire – on recruiting for a learning culture
  66. Agile is not a process, it Defines a Culture – taking agile beyond a collection of working processes
  67. Agility and Organisational Change – collecting some thoughts together for a talk for Google
  68. Prototyping is a Process, Not a Thing – on the perils of trying to fit too many learning goals into a prototype
  69. What Makes Large Companies Fail? – Arrogance, pursuing growth at all costs, innovation inertia it seems.
  70. Everybody has a Plan, Until They Get Punched in the Face – why planning should be adaptive, and on rewarding behaviours (inputs) rather than outcomes
  71. Culture at Buffer – transparency breeds trust, and breaks down silos
  72. Don’t F**k Up The Culture – AirBnB and the importance of culture in removing the need for too much process
  73. First Principles Thinking – going back to basics
  74. The 70, 20, 10 Approach to Innovation – embedding innovation
  75. Triumverate Teams – more on multidisciplinary teams
  76. Spotify Engineering Culture – a good explanatory film
  77. Agile Culture at Pinterest – a useful framework for maintaining organisational and individual agility
  78. Agile Strategy – Rita Gunther McGrath on the big shift in business competitive advantage
  79. Solving the Big Problems – more on long-term thinking
  80. The Growth Share Matrix Revisited – Boston Consulting revising one of the tenets of business school teaching
  81. People and Space – interesting thinking around rates of change
  82. Marginal Thinking – because ‘the safest road to hell is the gradual one’
  83. Planting Saplings – the perils of being slow to innovate
  84. Emergent and Deliberate Strategy – because there is a difference
  85. Purpose, Vision and Innovation – and the realtionship thereof
  86. Usability Trumps Persuasion – nicely put
  87. On Organisational Capabilities – a useful way of framing capability
  88. Discovery Driven Planning – from Rita Gunter McGrath
  89. Email Transparency – another practice driving greater efficiency and agility
  90. Buzzfeed and the Full Stack Startup – how ‘full stack’ startups are disrupting entire industries
  91. Never Outsource the Future – on the tricky balance between insourcing and outsourcing
  92. Working at Dropbox – a great way to express ‘digitally-native’ culture
  93. How Google Work – lots of relevant themes in this presentation from Eric Scmidt
  94. Zero to One – reflections on Peter Thiels book on startups and more besides
  95. Peter Thiel on Company Culture – more from Zero to One, this time on organisational culture
  96. Speed + Focus = momentum – and momentum is motivational gold
  97. Systematic Survival Bias – why we are biased towards learning from successes, rather than from failures
  98. Strategies of Trajectory – moving from strategies shaped by terrain, to strategies shaped by trajectory
  99. On Design, Strategy and Planning – and the relationship thereof
  100. Protecting Against Obsolete Beliefs – because it’s hard to notice when your assumptions need changing
  101. Flexible Technology Stacks – it’s about the balance bewteen control and empowerment
  102. The Digital Board – agile decision making
  103. Why Some Teams are Smarter Than Others – and it’s not what you think
  104. The Difference Between Management and Leadership – because there is one
  105. Why Small Teams Work – small, nimble, multidisciplinary
  106. Two Great Quotes on Strategy – on the fundamentals
  107. Distributed and Destination Thinking (Redux) – revisiting one of my stalwart concepts
  108. The Full Stack Employee – staff with powerful combinations of skills
  109. The Creative Company – doesn’t every company need to be creative in this way?
  110. Podcast on Transformation – Interview with Minter Dial
  111. The Importance Of Reflection – oft overlooked
  112. Bake a bigger pie – a great analogy
  113. Stubborn on vision, flexible on details – balancing iteration and long-term vision
  114. A Five Stage Model for Digital Maturity – based on the competence model
  115. The Three Types of Problem in the World – Simple, complicated and complex, and why the difference is important
  116. Ritual and Changing Behaviour – the use of ritual in helping behaviour change
  117. Pirate Metrics – measuring early stage success beyond revenue
  118. What Network Science Says About Career Success – on being outwardly facing and the power of being a network broker
  119. Is the Life Expectancy of Companies Really Shrinking? – a nuanced view on company longevity
  120. Co-location and Concurrent Working in Agencies – agile working in agencies
  121. Organising to Learn – on developing a learning culture
  122. Our Massive Employee Engagement Problem – reason enough to change the way we work
  123. The 666 Roadmap – agile planning framework
  124. Martec’s Law – technology changes exponentially, organisations change logarithmically
  125. From Descriptive to Predictive Analytics – on getting value from data
  126. On Fluid Resourcing – on flexibility and flow within structures and resourcing
  127. Frequency as a Lever for Change – using rhythm to disrupt inertia 
  128. Organisational Flow, Speed, Momentum – defining organisational agility
  129. Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast – how Lean can drive transformation
  130. The Five Whys – useful framework for getting to the real problem to solve
  131. Burberry Show How You Embrace Disruption – great case study in being bold with change
  132. Purpose and Profit – the link thereof, and why measures should be linked to purpose as defined from a customer standpoint
  133. What’s The Difference Between a Company’s Purpose, Vision, Mission, and Values? Because there is one y’know
  134. Productive Informality – the behaviours and culture that correlate with team success 
  135. The Wrong Side of Urgency – fast without focus is foolish
  136. On High Performance Teams – the surprising truth on what empowers teams to be their best
  137. Stopping Meeting Creep – because meeting creep hampers agility
  138. Learning to Unlearn – the secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new
  139. The Streetlight Effect And The Tyranny of Best Practice – we are in danger of over-simplifying and becoming like the drunk searching for his keys in the streetlight
  140. The Best Place in the World to Fail – an important business lesson, and a great turn of phrase from Jeff Bezos
  141. Pioneers, Settlers, Town Planners – the brilliant people needed to make innovation happen
  142. Building the Culture to Move Fast – on true collaboration
  143. Drink Before You’re Thirsty, Eat Before You’re Hungry – S-curves and innovation
  144. The Agile Team Onion – on managing core teams and dependencies
  145. The LIfecycle of a Technology – digging into S-curves
  146. Strategy and Tactic Trees – connecting strategy to execution
  147. Redefining Leadership in the Digital Age – perhaps it’s time for a rethink
  148. Agile Strategy Mapping – a useful tool for setting out success factors and dependencies
  149. Gall’s Law – Complex systems that work evolve from simple systems that work
  150. What is Digital? – on defining digital, and recognising that it means more than technology

I also wrote a piece for The Marketing Society on the subject. If you’re interested, I’ve also put a similar page together for my best posts around the subject of innovation.