Are you agile when you’re going fast? No. The ultimate test of agility is whether you can keep all your stakeholders happy.
Last year I was in a discussion with the CEO and a dozen top managers of a mobile apps developer in Shanghai, China. The company was very successful and was trying to be more agile, but also struggling with their rapid growth at the same time. The managers told me their interpretation of being agile was to deliver new software faster to their customers.
It is a good first step, I believe, but the ultimate test of agility is whether you can keep all your stakeholders happy, customers and employees, owners and suppliers, government and community. To my surprise, the CEO nodded his head and said to his managers, “We have learned to make new mobile app faster and faster, but our employees are leaving the company in droves to work for our competitors. You’re bossing them away! How can that be agile?”