Keynote: Aligning Acceleration and Agility: The Business Case for Fast!


So I’ve been running around for years, preaching my mantra to many global organizations that a key chance for innovation success will come from the ability to align yourself to fast paced future trends…

We’re in the era of the end of incumbency, in which small dominates big, fast trumps ponderous, and indecision spawns failure.

I’ve even written books on the theme: both The Future Belongs To Those Who Are Fast and Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast carry this key message.

So I was thrilled when I was discovered by, and eventually booked, by the Toronto Agile community, for the 2012 Agile Tour Toronto conference, being held next Monday morning in Toronto.

As with all clients, I’ve spent some time to understand who these folks are, what they do, and what they think. One evening, over some refreshments, I had a wonderful discussion with their team that helped me to realize that my theme, and the spirit of Agile (yes, it’s capitalized) are perfectly aligned.

So here’s the thing: if you want to understand how your organization will survive and thrive in a world in the future belongs to those who are fast, you should understand and learn about Agile. It’s pretty darned important. Here’s a good starting point – the session description for my keynote on Monday below. But more important, you want to take a look at the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, and the Principles behind the Agile Manifesto.

And then dig deeper from there. Talk to some of these folks. Discover if you’ve got them on your software team, internally or externally. If you don’t, find out why not — because it’s probably a key indicator that you aren’t positioned to keep up with the change that is occurring with your company and the industry that you compete in.

Oh — and if you want to come on Monday, you can’t. The event sold out months ago. Agile is that important!

Aligning Acceleration and Agility: The Business Case for Fast!
To say that we live in a fast world would be an understatement. Small, quick upstarts like Square are challenging the global credit card industry, at the same that GPS based driver monitoring devices are rewriting the rules of the auto insurance industry. The NEST Learning Thermostat morphs from a quiet startup to a worthy challenger to industrial energy device powerhouses. Autonomous vehicle technology leads us to road trains and a more rapid emergence of intelligent highway infrastructure. We’re in the era of the end of incumbency, in which small dominates big, fast trumps ponderous, and indecision spawns failure. Everywhere we look, we can see acceleration, speed, and velocity: and in times like these, time isn’t a luxury.

For any software professional, these trends matter — because we are at the dawn of a time in which “software is poised to take over the world.” That’s not an understatement – it’s a reality. And with that trend, the role of Agile is shifting, from a means of bringing reproducibility, consistency and sanity to the software development process — to a foundation for “what comes next.” It’s clear that the values and practices behind Agile, such as the focus on testing, tight feedback cycles and accelerated learning, continuous or frequent releases, responding to fast change, serve as the backbone of what you need to be a fast organization.  Today, companies like Google can succeed because of their ability to get new functionality out to end users quickly, in order to test the market, or to respond to accelerating trends.

Agile is a great facilitator to help you be fast. Join us as Jim Carroll takes us on a voyage into how the new rules of business and technology are
providing for a reality in which the spirit of agility isn’t just an option – it’s the new normal.


THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.