Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos

Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos

by Darrell Rigby, Sarah Elk, Steve Berez


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Agile has the power to transform work--but only if it's implemented the right way.

For decades business leaders have been painfully aware of a huge chasm: They aspire to create nimble, flexible enterprises. But their day-to-day reality is silos, sluggish processes, and stalled innovation. Today, agile is hailed as the essential bridge across this chasm, with the potential to transform a company and catapult it to the head of the pack.

Not so fast. In this clear-eyed, indispensable book, Bain & Company thought leader Darrell Rigby and his colleagues Sarah Elk and Steve Berez provide a much-needed reality check. They dispel the myths and misconceptions that have accompanied agile's rise to prominence--the idea that it can reshape an organization all at once, for instance, or that it should be used in every function and for all types of work. They illustrate that agile teams can indeed be powerful, making people's jobs more rewarding and turbocharging innovation, but such results are possible only if the method is fully understood and implemented the right way.

The key, they argue, is balance. Every organization must optimize and tightly control some of its operations, and at the same time innovate. Agile, done well, enables vigorous innovation without sacrificing the efficiency and reliability essential to traditional operations. The authors break down how agile really works, show what not to do, and explain the crucial importance of scaling agile properly in order to reap its full benefit. They then lay out a road map for leading the transition to a truly agile enterprise.

Agile isn't a goal in itself; it's a means to becoming a high-performance operation. Doing Agile Right is a must-have guide for any company trying to make the transition--or trying to sustain high agility.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633698703
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 05/26/2020
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 198,522
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Darrell Rigby is a partner in the Boston office of Bain & Company, where he heads the Global Innovation and Agile practices. He is a frequent speaker and writer on innovation, agile, and retail, and his research has been published in Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, and other publications.

Sarah Elk is a partner in Bain's Chicago office, where she heads the firm's Global Operating Model practice.

Steve Berez is a partner in Bain's Boston office and a founder of the firm's Enterprise Technology practice.

You can visit the authors on LinkedIn at:
Darrell Rigby:
Sarah Elk:
Steven H. Berez:

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Unbalanced Company 1

1 How Agile Really Works 23

2 Scaling Agile 45

3 How Agile Do You Want To Be? 73

4 Agile Leadership 93

5 Agile Planning, Budgeting, and Reviewing 111

6 Agile Organization, Structures, and People Management 125

7 Agile Processes and Technology 143

8 Doing Agile Right 163

Appendix A A Leadership Team's Agile Manifesto 189

Appendix B Definitions of Operating Model Components 197

Appendix C Research Notes Summary 201

Notes 217

Index 223

Acknowledgments 235

About the Authors 237

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