A changing context – the reasons behind AgileSHIFT

Group of female project management professionals standing discussing their transformational shift in front of a blackboard displaying project diagram

In recent years there has been a profound shift in the pace and extent of change. The need to develop an appropriate response to that is the reason behind the development of AgileSHIFT® – a guide to help prepare individuals and organizations for transformational shift by creating a culture of enterprise agility.

To understand a little more about this background to AgileSHIFT, let’s consider four elements of this changing context.

It’s a VUCA world

VUCA is a term which stands for:

  • Volatility. The nature, speed and dynamics of change that organizations and countries now face means that those changes can be more frequent and significant than ever before.
  • Uncertainty. The lack of predictability and the prospects for surprise lead to a lack of understanding of outcomes, issues and events. Old certainties have disappeared.
  • Complexity. The multiplicity of issues and factors, some of which may be intricately interconnected, result in much confusion.
  • Ambiguity. The lack of clarity and the difficulty of understanding exactly what the situation is can result in a haziness of reality.

Organizations need to be aware of the challenges of a VUCA world and be ready and prepared to transform themselves.

The increasing role of technology

Possibly the most influential factor that has brought about so much change is digital technology. Technology now touches almost all aspects of life, and this ‘tech-shift’ has become the leading cause of change.

Expectations are now different, and so it is important for organizations to leverage technology to be more efficient in delivering better value to customers and remain competitive.


Technology has significantly lowered many of the entry barriers to a number of markets, thus enabling disruption.

Many industries and sectors have seen disruptors enter their markets, uproot established ways of working and change the way customers think and behave. Disruptors often exploit inefficient markets, where there is a large gap between what is being offered and what the customer wants or requires.

The Delta

The pace of change, new technology, and the possibility of disruptors can all lead to the development of a gap between where an organization is currently, and where it could, or needs to be. This is the Delta. The larger this Delta, the more exposed an organization is to the threat of disruption.

Understanding that a Delta exists gives disruptors the chance to offer a better value proposition. It is therefore important that established organizations within that market become more adaptable and develop agility in order to best respond.

This is the reason why AXELOS have launched AgileSHIFT.

AgileSHIFT prepares people for transformational change by creating a culture of enterprise agility. It encourages all areas of an organization to embrace agile ways of working wherever appropriate.

It does this by providing a simple agile framework for organizations and teams to adopt. This framework is comprised of:

  • Five underpinning principles
  • Five recommended practices, and
  • An easy to use iterative delivery method.

Combined, these elements show the whole organization how to embrace agility, so they can work in a more agile way in this changing context.

See our AgileSHIFT section for more information and read our white paper Enterprise Agility and AgilSHIFT.

Current rating: 4.7 (6 ratings)


26 Oct 2018 Cameron Stewart
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Great article, John! Thanks! The Delta is a really exciting concept. The idea of measuring ourselves against not only what we think we could do, but instead against what is possible is a big step forward. Encouraging our people to think in an unconstrained way will yield more creativity that will make a positive impact for us and our stakeholders. I'm looking forward to organizations learning more about how they can leverage their current advantages in the face of a changing context.

And everyone is invited to our webinars - 31st Oct 18

8am (GMT): http://bit.ly/2J4RNa0

4pm (GMT): http://bit.ly/2pXI0dd

They are great opportunities to learn more and ask questions!
2 Nov 2018 Edward Munday
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Interesting article John. Certainly has a place in fast pace, evolving organisations.
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