Book Notes #38: The Agile Organization - Simon Reay Atkinson and James Moffat

Book Notes: The Agile Organization - Simon Reay Atkinson and James Moffat
The Agile Organization explores the nature and behaviors of different kinds of networked agile enterprises and their implications for military organizations. 


Title: The Agile Organisation: From Informal Networks to Complex Effects and Agility
Author: Simon Reay Atkinson and James Moffat
Themes: Leadership, Management, Business, Agile, Software, Lean, Scrum
Year: 2005
Publisher: The Command and Control Research Program
ISBN: 9781893723160, 189372316X
Pages: 211

A military book about agility? Really? Yes!

"The Agile Organization" is a book written by Simon Reay Atkinson and James Moffat that provides an overview of how to implement Agile methodologies throughout an organization, not just in software development.

In an uncertain and dynamic security environment, militaries around the world are transforming themselves, becoming more network-centric and information-enabled. 

These transformations are still driven by command and control. Military strategies that are agile are the gold standard of the information age. 

In the new age of command and control, traditional approaches are being questioned and replaced by new ones. 

In this nascent revolution in how militaries organize, operate, and think about themselves and their adversaries, the criteria for success may be the most significant change. 

Book Notes: The Agile Organization - Simon Reay Atkinson and James Moffat

To meet 21st-century security challenges, new organizational forms and approaches to command and control are needed. The focus of this book is on applying insights from modern and complexity theory to military organizations, as well as applying those insights to other organizations.

For a set of selected missions (approved planning scenarios), traditional militaries and military analysis concentrate on mission effectiveness. 

My Book Highlights:

"... It is this newly emerging complexity of new connections and re-established old connections that will define our future—who we are to become as much as who we are. Globalization, therefore, poses many challenges to the way we aggregate, how we see ourselves, and so see the opportunities and threats that will confront us in the 21st century. In some regards, they will be similar to those that existed before the 20th century, and in others very different. Historically, the 20th century may be seen as the exception and not the norm of man’s means of aggregating with his fellow man. We examine these new transnational challenges to our security from the viewpoint of Complexity and the new types of aggregation that will emerge to address them..."

"... To fight effectively, one needs to have trust in one’s fellow sailors, soldiers, and airmen to do the right thing. Extending beyond this, one needs trust between one’s commanders and, in an alliance or coalition, between one’s political leaders and states to engage forces appropriately..."

"... We are no longer isolated from our other man as we were before and this new linkage and connectedness brings with it new responsibilities and rights, including a recognition that both war and peace are now “joined permanently” as are prevention and pre-emption— we will have little or no warning..."

Armed forces in the Information Age are discovering the value of agility, both as a core competency in operations and as a value metric for policy and investment decisions, in order to cope with the complexities, uncertainties, and risks associated with the 21st-century security environment. 

The book covers the principles and practices of Agile methodologies, and how to apply them throughout an organization, not just in software development.

The authors cover the key practices and strategies needed to successfully implement Agile methodologies throughout an organization, including Lean, Kanban, and Scrum.

The book provides real-world examples and case studies from the author's experience implementing Agile methodologies in various organizations.

The book covers the importance of leadership, communication, and collaboration in the Agile process.

The book includes practical tips, tools, and checklists to help organizations implement Agile methodologies effectively.

Chapters of the Book:

   Stop the World, I Want to Get Off!
   Idealism and Realism, trust and rules
   Post-Modernism and Post-Belief
   Networks and organizations in partnership
   What works
   The future into which we gaze

   Complexity: New Insights into Systems and Networks
   Open systems
   Power laws
   Fractals and power laws
   The sandpile model
   Where have we gotten to so far?
   Self-organizing social groups
   The conceptual framework of complexity
   Complex networks of interaction
   Random Networks
   Small World Networks
   Scale Free Networks 
   Network vulnerability 
   Patterns of interaction
   Complexity and cascading effects: A real example
   The attack on Port Stanley Airfield: The Falklands War, 1982
   The cascade of effects

   Policy through Change
   Institutes of state
   Back to the future and out of the wilderness
   Returning to power
   Into office and all at sea
   Effects Based Operations and the Battle of the Atlantic
   Break out

   Informal Networks
   What is an Informal Network?
   Who decides?
   Can we prove that Informal Networks add value?
   A simple example
   Types of Informal Networks
   Random Networks
   Small World Networks
   Scale Free Networks
   Complex Networks and Formal Organizations
   Getting nearer or further?

   Social Linkage and Dynamics
   Social organizations
   Policymaking in government: A defense policy-related example
   Stakeholder perception space
   The effects space
   The Influence Network and management roles
   Management agility: The range of options available
   Enterprise agility and integration
   Directive and emergent management and control
   Directive versus emergent management and control
   Influence Networks as complex systems with emergent behavior
   Base level classification of network types
   Cascading failures at the median level

   New Order: New Effects
   The six aspects of Effects Based Operations
   Complexity, effects, and experiments
   Effecting all things possible
   That he should not be able to command the rain
   Effect of command
   The importance of agility

   Back to the Future
   Bounding command
   Stovepipes to communities
   From consent to concessive
   Institutional friction
   Trust exchanges
   Final thoughts

In conclusion, "The Agile Organization" is a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding and implementing Agile methodologies throughout an organization. 

The authors, Simon Reay Atkinson and James Moffat, provide a comprehensive overview of the key practices and strategies needed to successfully implement Agile methodologies throughout an organization and offer real-world examples and case studies to illustrate the concepts. 

The book also covers the importance of leadership, communication, and collaboration in the Agile process, and includes practical tips, tools, and checklists to help organizations implement Agile methodologies effectively. 

It's a must-read for anyone involved in organizational development looking to improve their Agile skills and knowledge in an organizational context.

Simon Reay Atkinson joined the Royal Navy in 1979. After training as an electrical and systems engineer and gaining his first degree, he served in the Falklands, and the Gulf during the mine war. He has recently completed a tour to Washington, as the Chief of Defence Staff’s “directed telescope” in the U.S. on Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Global War on Terrorism. He is an active committee member of the Naval Review and has written widely for the review and other professional publications.

Jim Moffat is a Senior Fellow of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, U.K., a Fellow of the Operational Research Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and a visiting Professor at Cranfield University, U.K. He was awarded the President’s medal of the Operational Research Society in the year 2000. His most recent works include the books Command and Control in the Information Age: Representing its Impact and Complexity Theory and Network Centric Warfare.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great book notes this week!