What is Business Agility?

Simply said, Business Agility is the organizational ability to change, learn and pivot business strategy in order to deliver at speed and thrive in a competitive market. Sounds easy but doing it effectively nowadays requires no less than breaking a lot of paradigms.

Further explanation that “thriving in a competitive market” today depends on the value received by customers is probably the next thing to say. But then again, a lot of things will need to be said.

Another way to define it is through the Business Agility Manifesto*, from Burlton, Ross and Zachman, a document including a Prime Directive, the Management Imperatives and the Manifesto, all presented by a brief Foreword that establishes the background of the concept by raising Business Agility from the very concepts of the agile methodologies for software development.

Being an extense document, we present a summary which is not a literal translation of it, but instead an interpretation sometimes on our own words, grouping some of the themes so we can have it handy whenever we need it.


“Business Agility” envisions an ability to modify dynamically the concepts and structures of the business itself for maintaining relevance in the context of a dramatically changing, complex and uncertain operational environment.

This ability necessarily must include dynamic reconfiguration of implementations, adolescent and mature, manual and automated, new and existing, to continue business operations as business changes are formalized.

“Business Agility” by its very name, would suggest implications far beyond the normal dimensions of an “Agile” discussion about software development or organization schemes

Prime Directive

All initiatives must demonstrably align with the Management Imperatives.

Management Imperatives

  1. Facilitate business change
  2. Create value
  3. Implement business strategy
  4. Provide security
  5. Assure sustainability
  6. Manage business risk
  7. Encourage appropriate innovation and control
  8. Enable collaboration
  9. Optimize resources
  10. Manage knowledge


  1. Perpetual change – innovation and fast change to maintain relevance while minimizing risk and focusing on value
  2. Business solution agility – business solutions that incorporate a valuable but easily modifiable business knowledge
  3. Business value creation – business value as the means for time, money and organizational resources investment, including software
  4. Value chain – customer and business value chains as the strategical focus, avoiding silos or isolated organizational actors
  5. Business Knowledge** – relevant knowledge needed to manage, evaluate, evolve and communicate effectively the business value chains, compiled on unified and accesible ways.
  6. Business integrity – credibility and reliability as results of compliance of norms and regulations, creating legal security for the business, stakeholders, employees and customers.
  7. Business Strategy – sustainable competitive advantage as result of the knowledge management expressed on services and products that can be supported digitally (or not)
(*) Business Agility Manifiesto, Roger T. Burlton, Ronald G. Ross & John A. Zachman, © Business Rule Solutions, LLC. 2017 , © Process Renewal Consulting Group (2015), Inc. 2017, © John A. Zachman®, Zachman International®, Inc. 2017. Permission is granted for unlimited reproduction and distribution of this document under the following conditions: (a) The copyrights and this permission notice are clearly included. (b) The work is clearly credited to its three authors. (c) No part of the document, including title, content, copyrights, and permission notice, is altered, abridged or extended in any manner.
(**) For quick reference purposes, this summary groups  4 themes of the Manifesto under “Business Knowledge”:
5. Business Knowledge, 6. Business Knowledge Management, 7.Business Knowledge Base, 8. Single source of Business Truth


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