Unlocking Digital Business Agility

In our Digital Business (DB) series journey so far, we

In this 8th part of the series, we dive deeper into the engine's heart that delivers and supports a Digital Business: Agility.

Agile: the ability to move quickly and easily


Agile: relating to or denoting a method of project management, used especially for software development, that is characterised by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.

Embracing Agile

When dealing with software and digital projects, it is near impossible to avoid coming across agile methodologies. They are great if managed and run well; Horrible otherwise.

Question: Did you ever wrestle with software development teams for effort/time estimates? What if I told you that what came across as "wrestling" was:

  • A language of collaboration
  • Helping you understand there are alternative ways to deliver better outcomes in an age where requirements and lessons learned can be swiftly applied to new directions
  • Enabling fast adaptation to new information, and always being ready to change direction with you with little to no fuss, and
  • Aligned to your desired outcomes for continuous value extraction from their work?

The agile approaches that software businesses developed over the past decades challenge the Traditional Leadership (TL) inputs and approaches that use a higher level of certainty and upfront de-risking to what agile methodologies use to work. Rather than de-risk up-front, agile methods are used to constantly de-risk as part of the entire process. All of this is in the interest of agility, progress and the ability to START shipping value fast!

The Digital Leadership (DL) mindset engaged by software businesses offsets this higher risk at the start of work by using product usage telemetry, customer contact and alternative methods backed by digital tooling deployed across the company to support near-real-time analysis wherever possible.

If such systems are not in place, Digital Leaders make it a point to remediate this with high priority early in their engagement journey with an organisation or project.

This approach creates a bed of information that enables Digital Leaders to quickly build core patterns and identify key KPIs/Proxy-KPIs to construct a baseline effectiveness measure of productivity, go-to-market, sales and operations.

Powered by this baseline, Digital Leaders can measure the impact of new initiatives, partnership engagements and product releases at a much faster pace as a course of regular business. The principle is to reduce typical operational methods that take months to correlate data reduced to an hourly or on-demand capability.

Now imagine an entire company operating with this approach, where all stakeholders are driven to

  • build with automation in mind
  • build with telemetry, and feedback mechanisms as a key measure of success
  • collecting continuous customer feedback to confirm whether what was produced is valuable
  • support swiftness of service delivery and remediation in situations

This distinct mindset, digital capability and ability to marry product to processes to people to partnerships with technology enables Digital Leaders and their counterparts to correlate and make faster data-supported decisions pro-actively. This, in turn, allows for swift changes in direction.

And that is all that being agile is!

Agile is not about operating quickly or at cheaper levels (you can, but it is not its primary driver…). You can use data from agile to determine the unit cost of creation and work to improve that unit cost, but we digress 😊.

Being a Digital Business is all about the ability to effectively:

  • Invest in eliminating waste without disrupting one's ability to deliver value to the customer
  • Continuously define small experiments to test the hypothesis with customers
  • Correlate Experimentation to ROI to business assets (Product / Value Chain / Organisation value)
  • Limit spend on experiments that will not support success levels required (Fail fast!)
  • React quickly and recover fast in case of errors that impact customers
  • Commit % of spend on Experimentation while ensuring less risky investments are not starved
  • Be decisive in invest, maintain and end of life of products
  • Provide the technical delivery team with a tribe of peers in their industry to be part of and grow within (i.e. build a community of tech people. If you cannot, outsource development as you will still lose the dev down the line….)
  • Swiftly measure feedback, take-rate and ongoing behaviours
Agile methodology

Agile methodologies enable outstanding Digital Leadership to work with Product and Engineering teams to drive change while properly managing, balancing, learning and offsetting small losses with bigger wins as one progresses and grows throughout the journey.

The software business engine is geared towards changing one's direction FAST. Developers hate inefficiencies as they distract the same developers from focusing on what they value most: customer value within their creations. This mindset can be deployed across all departments.

What you are now seeing the rise of:

  • Agile Marketing (supported by DevOps practices in Marketing Operations a.k.a MarOps)
  • Agile Project Management
  • Agile Sales (supported by DevOps practices in Sales Operations a.k.a SalesOps)
  • Agile Business Operations (supported by DevOps and modern Security practices, a.k.a BizSecOps)
  • Etc. etc.

As you understand that the concept of AGILE/FAST is only related to one's ability and mindset to change direction promptly, with little cost or impact, you become aware of the underlying mental model needed to transform and drive impact across ALL OF THE BUSINESS. This will then lead you down the road to ultimately become a DIGITAL BUSINESS.

Wrapping Up

Summarising our progress, in our Digital Business (DB) series journey so far, we

Explore the rest of the "Digital Business" series:

# Topic Link
DB-01 Unpack what it takes to be a Digital Business Open
DB-02 Is being a Digital Business for you? Open
DB-03 Putting digital landscapes into perspective Open
DB-04 Set your Digital Business north star Open
DB-05 Changing the business while running the business Open
DB-06 Understanding the Digital Business Mindset Open
DB-07 Top 5 Key traits Digital Leadership should have Open
DB-08 Unlocking Digital Business Agility (This Post)
DB-O9 Top 8 capabilities you need to be a Digital Business Open


  • There is no one-size-fits-all solution for companies to become Digital Businesses.
  • It is only in uniting people, products & processes through a common vision, a deeply felt purpose, and a broadly shared dream that will continue to motivate stakeholders to push on and persevere.
  • Many paths can lead to your desired destination. Each route while equally viable have varying degrees of complexity, sophistication and completeness.

My purpose in the series is to share lessons learned in building global software businesses to help you achieve a Digital Business with assets people want to buy.

Let me know what you think about this series and whether you feel something important was left out. Reach out on andre@andremuscat.com.

This post and the information presented in newsletter, events and website content are intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. The views expressed herein are of the author alone and is not a recommendation of an investment strategy or to buy or sell any security, digital asset (including cryptocurrency) in any account. The content is also not a research report and is not intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision. While certain information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, neither the author nor any of his employers or their affiliates have independently verified this information, and its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The content is not legal advice. Any third-party information provided therein does not reflect the views of andremuscat.com. Accordingly, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to, and no reliance should be placed on, the fairness, accuracy, timeliness or completeness of this information. The author and all employers and their affiliated persons assume no liability for this information and no obligation to update the information or analysis contained herein in the future.

Unlocking Digital Business Agility

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