What is an agile company?

Focus on the original definition in the Agile Manifesto and the evolution of the concept

By Sébastien Bourguignon Principal & Lead Digital Influencer @sebbourguignon


Agility has been the subject of numerous theories, publications and conferences for several years. The concept was historically created during a gathering of software development experts in 2001. They explain the ins and outs of what we know as « agile » through a founding document called the “agile manifesto“, which encompasses 4 values and 12 principles. At the time, it was mainly a solution proposed by developers to manufacture a software in the most efficient way while guaranteeing its adequacy with the needs of the customer. 17 years later, things have changed, and the agile manifesto provides only part of the answers to bring out a new product or service with what specialists call a good time-to-market and a good product market fit in the digital age.


What does it mean to be agile these days?

The 17 founders of “agility” initially set 4 values for “agile” working that are still used today. As a rule, they must be extended to the entire organization of the company and not limited into IT projects, which is very often the case.

These values are:
– People and their interactions more than processes and tools
– Operational software more than exhaustive documentation (we could replace the term “software” by “product” or “service”)
– Collaboration with customers more than contractual negotiation
– Adapting to change more than following a plan

These common sense values should, in my view, be posted on the walls of all companies and should guide the decisions and operations of any organization. They’ve have lead to the creation of several theoretical methods including Scrum, which is by far the most used method in organizations. The Kanban, method, which came from the automotive industry (Toyota) it is used to continuously improve production processes for waste less production management.

But agile methods ultimately represent only the small link in a more global chain that must be put into place to really design and develop new products or services in agile mode. The best approach is to combine several complementary methods such as design thinking, lean startup and agile.


Read the entire article on Julie Desk’s blog: What is an agile company?

By Sébastien Bourguignon Principal & Lead Digital Influencer @sebbourguignon
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