Strategic agility planning guide for enterprise CIOs and IT executives

Strategic agility planning guide for CIOs

In this enterprise CIO Briefing on strategic agility, learn how to develop IT projects and practices through iterative methods at your organization.

Strategic agility is becoming increasingly important in today's enterprise IT organization. Agile methodologies can help businesses achieve more nimble project management style, reacting to issues midstream rather than delaying until the point of no return. This project management methodology derives from the world of Agile software development, where iterative methods can lead to cost savings, faster time to market and greater customer satisfaction.

In this IT leadership and management guide, learn how enterprise organizations are developing strategic agility by focusing on incremental development in project management and software development.

This strategic agility planning guide for enterprise CIOs is part of's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders management and decision-making advice on timely topics.

Table of contents:

Strategic agility calls for mid-project reviews

Every team can improve project delivery by adapting Lean and Agile methodologies to "lessons learned," even to projects that do not use an Agile approach.

Traditional project management lessons-learned sessions are useless for three key reasons:

  1. The items or problems identified are specific to the team, the project and the technology.
  2. The lessons-learned sessions are held at the end of the project.
  3. If items are not team-, project- or technology-specific, they are so vague as to be useless.

Let's look at the problems with each of these reasons.

Read about why it's important to get the jump on project management postmortems.

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A video guide to strategic agility planning in the enterprise

These videos review some of the top trends and methodologies in Agile project management and application development today.

Agile development changes the IT culture at the New York Stock Exchange

Robert Kerner doesn't waste time. The senior vice president and chief digital officer at New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Euronext believes that in this fast-paced, technical world, slowing down might as well be stopping. For him, it's a world that demands Agile development methodologies and transparency. Those not on board should be prepared to step aside.

"Running a Web shop or a digital shop as a waterfall democracy, you're going to be swallowed up and lose," Kerner said. "To be successful in this space, you have to be able to move where technology is going very quickly, and to do that, we have an Agile development environment."

Agile development methodologies were not the practice of choice in 2009, when Kerner came to NYSE Euronext, a global security exchanges operator and maker of trading technologies based in New York. That lack of agility left the organization's Web presence in a dire state. One of the first things Kerner did was talk with his team and ask questions.

Read about more about the NYSE's move to Agile methods.

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Strategic agility: A vocabulary lesson

Acquaint yourself with the following concepts that can help steer your Agile planning in the right direction.

How can the CIO spearhead strategic agility?

The revolution is here. The question is, will the CIO role survive it?

At last year's MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, "Piloting the Untethered Enterprise," Joichi Ito, director of the esteemed MIT Media Lab, was asked to define what the untethered enterprise means to him. "I think roadmaps and plans and strategy are a kind of tether. I have heard senior people working at Facebook flat out say, 'We don't do strategy. By the time we have a strategy, the world has changed,'" Ito said.

What Facebook does possess is agility, he said -- enterprise agility, at that. Facebook is a huge company, and it manages to release new features every week. Compare that with a company like Hewlett-Packard Co. with its five-year roadmaps. "They have to get out of hardware because they can't keep up," Ito said. Then, compare that to companies like, Barnes & Noble and Facebook, which are moving into hardware precisely because they are agile. "Agility will eat strategy every morning," he said.

But how exactly does that get factored into the role of the CIO?

Read more from Linda Tucci in her CIO Matters column on strategic agility and the CIO.

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Agile methodologies and strategy quiz for CIOs and IT managers

Do you have the ability to master agility? As prompt IT strategic decision-making becomes ever more important, many organizations are turning to Agile methodologies to guide their project management efforts. Based on the Agile software development principles of small iterations and rapid development, Agile project management helps IT leaders sort through project issues as they arise, helping their teams deliver successful results on time and within budget. Moreover, Agile software development methodologies are proving to be particularly important in the mobile movement, satisfying customers with frequent updates and constant software improvements.

Does your organization understand all there is to know about using Agile methodologies in project management and beyond? Test your knowledge of Agile strategy by reviewing some of our past coverage and taking our quiz.

Do you know Agile?