The Era of Agile Management Has Finally Arrived

By Brian Lucas

“Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people.” -John D. Rockefeller[1]
“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” -Anne M. Mulcahy[2]
“Having ONLY[3] the right people in the right place at the right time doing the right thing is fundamental to running an agile enterprise.  Ubiquitous vision, knowledge and empowerment are the keys to making this happen.” –Brian Lucas[4]

In modern history, there have so far been three eras of management:

  1. Management 1.0 – The Process Centric Era
  2. Management 2.0 – The People Centric Era
  3. Management 3.0 – The Knowledge Centric Era

The three quotes at the beginning of this article are representative of the three eras of modern management.  Each represent a leap in management thinking.  Between these leaps, there was a considerable amount of incremental development.  For example, specific strategic management[5] theory and planning has always had a significant effect on these management eras.  Since the early days of Capitalism which drove a Product/Service Oriented Strategy, each decade since the 1960s has brought forth a new approach:

The 1960s – The Sales Oriented Strategy

The 1970s – The Marketing Oriented Strategy

The 1980s – The Active and Interactive Oriented Strategy

The 1990s – The Value Chain and Optimization of Resources Strategy

The 2000s – The Living Company Strategy

The 2010s – The Learning and Agile Strategy

Note the psychological shift[6] from being reactive and negative to proactive and positive.  For those of you who lived through these decades in business, you will realize that these theories don’t quite fit into nice, neat windows as this list implies.  Nothing academic ever does.  Some companies are still back in the 60s and surviving somehow, others are trying to practice a Learning and Agile Strategy (as I call it) and are failing for various reasons.  But rather than cover these strategies atomically, I am defining here the large sweeping eras of basic modern[7] management thought.

First, let’s take a quick peek at where we are.  We are now in the Learning and Agile Strategy phase.  In this era, businesses must change their structure fluidly in response to ever changing customer needs and market pressures.  Jack Welch says in Straight from the Gut, “Change before you have to”. The need to precede market demands with organizational adaptability, which can anticipate those demands and meet them at the beginning of a cycle, is the difference between enterprise success or business failure.

The market turbulence of the last 5 years has clearly shown the influence of globalization and volatility.  This will remain constant for the foreseeable future.  Even with a rebuilding economy, the underlying fluctuations in commodities, currency rates, energy and the emergence of a vast array of new and non-traditional competitors will constantly challenge traditional business and operating models making them obsolete.  This is what has driven the change to the era of agile management.

Now let’s take a step back in time for a moment and see how this all developed.  Management 1.0 began in the very late 1800s and early 1900s with Frederick Winslow Taylor, the father of scientific management.  Taylor was one of the intellectual leaders of the “Efficiency Movement” and his ideas were highly influential in the Progressive Era.  Taylor was the first man in recorded history, who deemed work deserving of systematic observation and study.  The basis of this theory is that the ideal process could be devised upfront through much thought and analysis and then people had to be taught the process and managed tightly to enforce the process. Price control was an important focus.

In his book Management 3.0, Jurgen Appelo defines this period as the era of hierarchies:

Some people call it scientific management, whereas others call it command-and-control. But the basic idea is the same: An organization is designed and managed in a top-down fashion, and power is in the hands of the few.  Those at the top of the hierarchy have the highest salaries, the biggest egos, and the most expensive chairs.  Those at the bottom have little money, few responsibilities, and no motivation to do a good job.

To compensate for the danger of their high positions, the top executives are allowed to play with the bonuses that, in many cases, have far more effect on personal wealth than organizational performance.  As a side effect, dangerous bonus schemes also contributed to a worldwide financial implosion.  Oops.

We can safely conclude that Management 1.0, even though it is still the most widespread version of management in the world, has a number of serious flaws.  It is old, outdated, and in need of an upgrade.

It is difficult to argue with the fact this technique is 50 years out of date.  Some CEOs are still heavily entrenched in this concept, however, as is most middle management.  I call this era, the process centric one because of all the work done by the pioneers Taylor[8], Gantt[9], Fayol[10], Shewhart[11] and Walker[12].  This was a necessary era, but one that lasted too long, due to a poor understanding of early adopters and the perennial stragglers who had to be dragged kicking and screaming along.

Management 2.0 began in the 1980s.  I like to credit Blanchard[13] for ushering in this era, but it is highly argumentative and really somewhat arbitrary whomever you pick. The following body of work helped shift the focus from process to people:

  • The book the One Minute Manager in 1982 by Ken Blanchard[14]
  • The Theory of Constraints in 1984 by Eliyahu Goldratt[15]
  • Total Quality Control/Total Quality Management in 1985 by Edwards Deming[16] and Kaoru Ishikawa
  • Six Sigma in 1986 by Motorola
  • Balanced Scorecard[17] in 1990 by Robert S. Kaplan

Appelo defines this era as people centric[18] (as I do) in the following excerpt from his book:

Some people realized that Management 1.0 doesn’t work well out-of-the-box, so they created numerous add-on models and services with a semi-scientific status, like the Balanced Scorecard, Six Sigma, Theory of Constraints, and Total Quality Management.  Being Add-ons to Management 1.0, these models assume that the organizations are managed from the top, and they help those at the top to better “design” their organizations.  Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.

In the meantime other models and services focus on the craft and the art of management.  Many books, such as the One Minute Manager, the 21 Laws of Leadership, and the Good to Great, have presented basic principles and guidelines for managers, and tell them to practice and build experience.  Again, they are sometimes right, and sometimes not.  And they replace each other faster than the diapers on a toddler.

Management 2.0 is just Management 1.0 with a great number of add-ons to ease the problems of an old system.  But the architecture of Management 2.0 is still the same outdated hierarchy.

We agree on the title, but I don’t see these techniques as really Add-ons to Management 1.0.  During this era it was recognized that processes were becoming more complex and the environment was changing.  The focus of management shifted to people[19] rather than process.  Treating people as idiots and drones, as in the Management 1.0 philosophy, produced mindless results.  Those with initiative quit and became the competition. Quality[20] became more important replacing process as a focus.

From my perspective, Management 3.0 is the knowledge[21] centric era.  It began, strange enough, with the agile software revolution symbolized by the Agile Manifesto in 2001.  While it was software related, this manifesto combined with the low requirement for capitalization to start a new business made possible by the internet revolution spurred on a new era of market environment and demand as predicted by Alvin Toffler as The Third Wave.

Appelo defines this era as follows:

The last few decades saw the birth and rise of complexity theory, first applied to mathematics and biology and later to economics and sociology.  It was a major breakthrough.  Stephen Hawkings thought it was so important that he called the 2st century the “century of complexity.”

One important insight is that all organizations are networks.  People may draw their organizations as hierarchies, but that doesn’t change that they are actually networks.  Second, social complexity shows us that management is primarily about people and their relationships, not about departments and profits.

Many of us already knew that “leadership” is just a trendy name for managers doing the right thing and doing things right.  But complexity thinking adds a new dimension to our existing vocabulary.  It makes us realize that we should see our organizations as living systems, not as machines.

It is nice to have a new name.  Names can be powerful. The “3.0” version means that management needs changing.  It usually takes Microsoft three major releases of a product to get things right.  I believe that management has, in the third incarnation, finally found a solid scientific foundation.  The earlier add-ons are still valuable.  But we have to replace assumptions of hierarchies with networks because the 2st century is the Age of Complexity.

I agree with his assessment that this is a time of complex systems.  In this era, we recognize that processes, products and services are always changing because technology is always changing.  People are still the most important part of the equation.  But the only time people can operate at their highest efficiency is when you empower them and have the right person, in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing and they are acting like a virtual corporation.  Since the environment changes so frequently, the only way to enable this is through ubiquitous knowledge and decentralized authority.

Today we realize that business agility is based on a responsive lattice organization structure that networks itself to an ever changing business environment and market demands.  People are not managed in hierarchies; they are empowered to take responsibility in self-forming teams.  Products and services are not defined and built by ridged process, they are evolved.

So the question we must ask ourselves from a Management 3.0 perspective is, “does this mean that since we are now in Toffler’s third wave and the environment we live in is complex and constantly changing and that our organization structures must change with this; that we cannot successfully plan?”  The answer is no!  You need to use strategic planning techniques as a starting point and then make them both ubiquitous and dynamically fed and matured from ALL elements in the organization[22].  That is the golden opportunity and the nirvana for which everyone has been searching in this Management 3.0 era.

Some CEOs and CIOs will simply dismiss this concept as a fad.  That is a shame because in addition to hurting themselves[23]; they are hurting their employees, the company in general, the stockholders, the customers and business in general[24].  Unfortunately for them Management 3.0 is not a passing fad, but the evolution and maturing of thinking from process to people to knowledge without dropping any of the valuable lessons learned along the wayside.  The progression through the Management 3.0 era will be marked by a closer and more intelligent symbiosis of person and information system with a markedly greater influx of business intelligence.  That is a goal whose bar will continually move higher.  To meet this challenge you must, of course, remember to keep agile!


[1] John Davison Rockefeller was born July 8, 1839 and died May 23, 1937.  He was one of the great iconic American industrialists and philanthropists.  In 1870, he founded the Standard Oil Company and aggressively ran it until he officially retired in 1897.  Standard Oil began as an Ohio partnership formed by John D. Rockefeller amongst others.  Standard Oil dominated the oil industry and was the first of the notorious U.S. business trusts. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry using business tactics, technology and pioneered the use of byproducts.  As kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, Rockefeller’s wealth was astronomical, and he became the world’s richest man; the first American worth more than a billion dollars.  Adjusting for inflation, he is justly considered the richest person in history.  Rockefeller spent the last 40 years of his life in retirement.  He also defined the structure of modern philanthropy.  His fortune was mainly used to create the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy.  He did this through the creation of foundations that had a major effect on medicine, education, and scientific research. His foundations pioneered the development of medical research, and were instrumental in the eradication of hookworm and yellow fever.  He was the founder of both the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University.

[2] Anne M. Mulcahy was born October 21, 1952.  She is former chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corporation.  Mulcahy joined Xerox as a field sales representative in 1976.  From 1992-1995, she was vice president for human resources.  She served as vice president and staff officer for Customer Operations, covering South America and Central America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and China.  She became chief staff officer in 1997.  In 1998 she was named corporate senior vice president.  Named CEO of Xerox on August 1, 2001, she became chairwoman on January 1, 2002. She was selected as “CEO of the Year” in 2008 by Chief Executive Magazine.  Late in her tenure, she cut the workforce by 30% and eliminated the desktop portion of Xerox.  Mulcahy claims she never intended to run Xerox.  She announced her retirement as CEO on May 21, 2009.

[3] ONLY is really a key word here.  It means being lean and not having middle management and senior management bloat.  Far too many organizations could cut their middle management and senior management teams by as much as 90% and improve products and services as well as reducing costs drastically by empowering teams.

[4] I always let my work (such as it is) speak for itself.

[5] Strategic Management Theory – Hill

[6] Reactive from the standpoint that you were meant to sell a product after the fact of manufacturing and negative in that you sold it any way you could; generating demand often psychologically.  Proactive in the sense that you are focused on finding out what the customer really needs or could use to their life advantage and positive in that you are delivering it with a solid value proposition.

[7] Strategic Management theory grew out of project management theory.  Project management, in fact, has been practiced since early civilization. The building of the great pyramids, the Great Wall of China and Hadrian’s Wall in Great Britain all required the successful application of project management.  Until the 1900s, civil engineering projects were generally managed by creative architects and engineers.  It was in the 1950s, organizations started to systematically apply project management tools and techniques to complex engineering projects.

[8] Frederick Winslow Taylor was an American mechanical engineer known for industrial efficiency who became the father of scientific management. Taylor was one of the intellectual leaders of the “Efficiency Movement” and his ideas were highly influential in the Progressive Era.  Taylor was the first man in recorded history who deemed work deserving of systematic observation and study.

[9] Henry Laurence Gantt was an American mechanical engineer and management consultant who developed the Gantt chart in the 1910s. Gantt charts were employed on major infrastructure projects including the Hoover Dam and the Interstate highway system.

[10] Henri Fayol was a French mining engineer and director of mines who developed a general theory of business administration independently of scientific management.  He proposed that there were six primary functions of management:

  1. Forecasting
  2. Planning
  3. Organizing
  4. Commanding
  5. Coordinating
  6. Monitoring

[11] Walter Andrew Shewhart was an American physicist, engineer and statistician, known as the father of statistical quality control.  He created the basis for the control chart and the concept of a state of statistical control by carefully designed experiments.

[12] Morgan R. Walker developed the Critical Path Method (CPM) as a project modeling technique in the late 1950s while at DuPont.  It was used to contribute to the success of the Manhattan Project.

[13] The actual roots of performance management have seen a great deal of play in management literature and practice.  Management historians, like the great Alfred Chandler, suggest the origins of performance management can be seen in the emergence of the complex organization.  This predominately occurred in the 19th Century in the USA.  Recently this has been influenced by the pioneering work of General Electric on performance measurement in the 1950s. Practical work in this period using performance management dashboards is based on the ideas of the ‘resource based view of the firm’ first proposed by Edith Penrose.

[14] Kenneth Hartley Blanchard was born May 6, 1939.  He is an American author and management expert. His book The One Minute Manager, which he co-authored with Spencer Johnson, has sold over 13 million copies.  He has coauthored over 30 other best-selling books.

[15] Eliyahu Moshe Goldratt was born March 31, 1947 and died June 11, 2011.  He was an Israeli physicist who became a business management guru. He originated the Optimized Production Technique, the Theory of Constraints (TOC), the Thinking Processes, Drum-Buffer-Rope, Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) and other TOC derived tools.

[16] William Edwards Deming was born October 14, 1900 and died December 20, 1993.  He was a pioneering American statistician, professor, author, lecturer and consultant. He is perhaps best known for his work in Japan.  American business men and manufacturers originally derided Deming’s work while the Japanese embraced it.  From 1950 onward, he taught top management how to improve design, service, product quality, testing, and sales in a global markets through various methods, including the application of statistical methods.  Deming was at the forefront of Japan’s later reputation for innovative high-quality products and its economic power.  He is regarded as having had more impact upon Japanese manufacturing and business than any other individual.  Despite being considered something of a hero in Japan, he was only just beginning to win widespread recognition in the U.S. at the time of his death.  President Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Technology in 1987.  He received the Distinguished Career in Science award from the National Academy of Sciences in 1988.

[17] Organizations have used systems consisting of a mix of financial and non-financial measures to track progress for quite some time.  One example of such a system was created by Art Schneiderman in 1987 at Analog Devices, a mid-sized semi-conductor company; the Analog Devices Balanced Scorecard was similar to what is now recognized as a “First Generation” Balanced Scorecard design.  Subsequently Schneiderman participated in an unrelated research study in 1990 led by Dr. Robert S. Kaplan in conjunction with US management consultancy Nolan-Norton, and during this study described his work on performance measurement.  Subsequently, Kaplan and David Norton included anonymous details of this use of Balanced Scorecard in their 1992 article on Balanced Scorecard.  Kaplan and Norton’s article wasn’t the only paper on the topic published in early 1992, but the 1992 Kaplan and Norton paper was a popular success, and was quickly followed by a second in 1993.  In 1996, they published the book The Balanced Scorecard.  These articles and the first book spread knowledge of the concept of Balanced Scorecard widely, and has led to Kaplan and Norton being seen as the creators of the Balanced Scorecard concept.

[18] The giant Adam Smith, in 1776, defined four types of fixed capital.  The fourth type was Human Capital.  He defined Human Capital Management as “managing the acquired and useful abilities of all the inhabitants or members of the society”.  So far we have concentrated on maximizing the capabilities and efficiencies and exploiting the first three while ignoring the possibilities of the fourth. The use of the term “Human Capital Management” in modern literature dates back to Jacob Mincer’s article “Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution” in 1958. A great book on the application of the idea is “Human Capital”, by Gary Becker.

[19] At the beginning of the last decade, Human Capital Management finally gained recognition with Watson Wyatt’s Human Capital Index study in 1999 which stated that, “Superior Human Capital Management is a leading – rather than a lagging – indicator of improved financial success.”  A 2002 study showed that when businesses concentrated on processes and treat people as a secondary concern, their investment in process improvement has disappointing returns.  We were learning that keeping the human element informed and having its input into the operational processes is vital to business process management success.  Numerous subsequent studies have confirmed that human capital management investiture is a prerequisite for the successful implementation of business process management improvements.

[20] Kaoru Ishikawa was a university professor and influential quality management innovator best known for his cause and effect diagram (AKA fishbone diagram) created in the late 1950’s.  These were used in the analysis of industrial processes based on the work of W. Edwards Deming.  This later became the basis for concept – Total Quality Management.

[21] I could have easily called it the agile centric era, but I was asked to not use agile in this way by some individuals who were confusing the term with agile software development. Quel dommage!

[24] I have always maintained that business in general is improved by healthy competition.  When companies are deliberately backward or not innovative they dumb down the market.  Too few companies are driven by the constant premise that being number one in sales or just better than your competition is not enough, that each enterprise should strive to be the best they possibly can be.

About Brian Lucas

In his life, Brian Lucas has been a coach, farm worker, forester, health care advocate, life guard, general contractor, mechanic, mixologist, musician/singer (in a rock group), salesman and teacher. Brian has worked as a project manager, technical marketer, methodologist, manager, software architect, systems designer, data modeler, business analyst, systems programmer, software developer and creative writer. These efforts include over a hundred hi-tech initiatives in almost every business and industrial sector as well as government and military projects. Among them, he designed and developed a quality assurance system for the first transatlantic fiber optic communications network, a manufacturing system for a large computer manufacture’s seven manufacturing centers, a data mining system for steel production, an instrumentation system for cable systems, defined requirements for government’s information systems and designed and developed human performance management systems. Brian has educated and mentored many over the years, designing programs to discover and develop talent. He has also lectured extensively to a variety of audiences. Brian is currently devoting as much time as possible to the innovation of business agility and human capital management along with the next generation of agile software development. As an amateur theoretical physicist he is working on joining general relativity and quantum mechanics through a multidimensional time corollary on string theory and negating the uncertainty principle with Louis de Broglie’s wave/particle hypothesis. He is also an avid blue-water sailor and wilderness backpacker. He enjoys billiards, boxing, chess, cooking, famous battle reenactments and war gaming, fencing, flying, gardening, horseback riding, martial arts (particularly Ninjutsu), philosophy and psychology, playing musical instruments (7 so far), poker, rapid-fire target shooting, reading (he tries to read a new book every night), painting with oils, scuba diving, skiing and recently writing novels.
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120 Responses to The Era of Agile Management Has Finally Arrived

  1. Shockey says:

    Anyone who reads these posts and doesn’t bother to contribute with a comment is just a lousy lurker.

  2. Wiliver says:

    This post really speaks well of the depth of your management knowledge. Several here have said this was a subject of further exploration and I agree. I would also pose a hypothetical question for you. In the Management 3.0 era what type of tools do you expect to evolve to support both managers and employees?

  3. Tom Johnson says:

    I consider this to be a very fine expression of original thought worthy of copying all my friends on. Congratulations to you Brian! You are a marvelous writer.

  4. Arnold says:

    Hi Brian: This is such an important subject as you show in this article that I have to join the others here and encourage you to explore it further in additional posts.

  5. Mike Miluca says:

    Yes the era of agile management has undoubtedly arrived. Unfortunately a great number of CEOs and managers have not arrived with it. They continue to practice their command and control concepts, play office politics that are full of cronyism and even nepotism. CEOs can be the worst of the lot with their 5 minute or less attention spans and need to be surrounded with yes men. Even when a CEO is for change they are faced with the daunting task of overcoming the inertia of bureaucracy in their middle management. Good intentions don’t count if you can’t get the job done. Even Michael Dell is having to take his company back to being privately held to have the authority to drive the massive amount of change through it to enable its survival. I guess I am more pessimistic than Brian in that I see little good coming from the large corporation structure.

  6. Stewart says:

    Hi Brian: First let me thank you for this post! It makes sense, is well referenced and incredibly well written as I have come to expect from all your work. I note that you remarked that we should not through out the baby with the bath from Management 1.0 and 2.0. I respect this position which seems to be a common theme of yours – learn from the past (even ancient history). My question is how do we carry process analysis lets say in the form of best practices into this agile management philosophy without making it limiting and constricting and not open to adaptation?

  7. Mike Grainger says:

    I wish I could have the bragging right to this post Brian, but I will have to settle for complimenting you on a job well done!

  8. Jadsen says:

    I wish this agile era would arrive at my company… any suggestions on how to “make it so!” as Captain Picard would say?

  9. D.D. Waters says:

    This is a brilliantly written and highly intelligent analysis on the theory of management. As others have said I am sorry it is too short.

  10. Valdez says:

    The author is receiving well merited praise for this post on the eras of management. I would be very interested in a webinar on the subject with a Q&A period afterwards. Anyone else?

  11. Paula Botz says:

    As a business owner this speaks volumes to me and I think is the clearest short piece on this subject I have ever read. I will follow your blog from now on Brian.

  12. Kathy says:

    What a worthwhile read!

  13. Ted says:

    Splendid high level view of the history of management.

  14. Scot Sherman says:

    This was a revelation to me Brian thanks!

  15. Monroe says:

    Brian what drove the management theories as opposed to the management eras? I am a little unclear on that. I enjoyed reading this though.

  16. Francine says:

    Hi Brian: I was very impressed with this do you have any examples or statistics on what comapnies and or industries are at what stage/era of managemwnt?

  17. Barry says:

    I think that this subject would make a great webinar. I hope you decide to do one.

  18. Luciel says:

    Not at my fortune 500 bloatco it hasn’t!!!! I wish I worked for a company that Brian talks about…

  19. Donald says:

    I see this happening in small businesses everywhere. I agreed entirely it has to spread to larger organizations or they will be defunct.

  20. Kiefer says:

    As you state this will occur in different industries and different companies at different times. Any stats on who the early adopters are?

  21. Fiona says:

    Impressive article Brian! Great summation of management theory and history! Have you ever taught?

  22. PelmanD says:

    I buy this 100% – very well said…

  23. F.Meyers says:

    Like someone said I sure wish this era arrived at my company…Thanks for the post Brian, but now I know how really backward we are. Oh well…

  24. Random says:

    WOW! Super post man! Where are these agile companies besides Google? I would love to leave the stuck up place I work at now!

  25. Travis Buckley says:

    Simply Brilliant Brian! Enough said!

  26. Rolly C. Yeats says:

    This is a very interesting perspective! As others have asked here do you intend to expand on this topic further? I would be interested in a webinar on this subject.

  27. John DeLuca says:

    Brian all your posts are great. This is one I am especially interested in. You are not posting as much as you used to or answering as many comments. I hope you are not going to give up blogging. I was really hoping you would follow through on some of the ideas mentioned here in the comments.

  28. Gwen Sanders says:

    Hi Brian: Thanks for this post. It is a very interesting view on management theory and one that has generated interest at my company. I am working on a major reorganization effort here and was wondering if you were up for a few questions and would allow me to pick your brain. Can I email you? Thank you so much! Gwen Sanders

  29. Arthur Chan says:

    This is a very illuminating analysis on the history of management theory and its current state. There is much to learn here about our past and where we are going, coupled with lessons for our survival in the chaos of today’s business environment. Mr. Lucas decidedly deserves all the acclaim he receives here from his reader. He rends all of us a great service for sharing his knowledge freely.

  30. AbbieZ says:

    Bingo finally someone has nailed this and done it simply. There is so much hot air on the subject of management theory this was like a breath of spring air. What comes next Brian?

  31. BigMac says:

    I hope you write the second edition of this the first one was great, but left me hanging. How can we be a part of the Management 3.0 era and what comes next?

  32. M. Barnstable says:

    Unconventional thinking yet fundamentally sound and logical. Very interesting post, I will have to read the rest of your blog. -Myron

  33. Cary says:

    High time to take this seriously. Do you get that management!!!!!!

  34. Bertrand says:

    Man I wish every blog was as cool to read as Keeping Agile! Thanks Brian! We appreciate your effort!

  35. Buddy says:

    Aw… no more all day meetings in fishbowl rooms filled with enough hot air go launch the Goodyear blimp. What ever will we do??? lol

  36. Quintin says:

    Having read the author’s other posts, I believe the answer to some of the questions here is that the age of agile management is being applied first in smaller companies and I suspect the higher tech industries first. Google might be an exception! Mr. Lucas is predicting that there is a revolution going on where small businesses are taking the place of larger business entities. I hope this is true because small business employs the vast majority of workers in America. I think it is true and I intend to leave corporate America and go freelance. It is so refreshing to find someone capable of writing an article that is actually informative. Thanks!

  37. Felix says:

    Hi Brian: I would like to vote for you posting a list of the companies that you feel are “agilely” managed.

  38. Jessup says:

    Hi Brian: I thought this was a great post! My question is where do we go from here?

  39. Emile says:

    Just ran across this by accident and I am glad I did. Never though about management in this way. Do you tweet Brian or have other RSS feeds?

  40. Carl says:

    Brian I watched your webinar back in 2011 on agile fads and evolution. It was terrific and the Q&A afterwards outstanding. Would you consider doing a webinar on this subject? I believe it would be another super subject. Let me just also say that I appreciate all the research you do for these and present materials that are well crafted and don’t look like something that was drawn up on the plane ride in.

  41. Anthony Bustimanti says:

    I was just sent this link by a friend and I had to comment. This puts a lot into perspective and answers questions I had. I would definitely attend a webinar or read a longer treatment on the subject of managing an agile business.

  42. Arkady says:

    This is important article. It makes path of business clearer. It is not numbers of people in company that is important. It is amount of knowledge. We must find way to have more knowledge in our people and keep company Lean. This is point.

  43. Newton says:

    This is rather a good thought stimulant! Something we all need now and again. I like how you have simplified the eras of management without loosing any significant meaning. Your argument for the Management 3.0 (rather silly, but I understand you are bowing to convention) is well proportioned with the facts. Pity more don’t get the message. Smaller companies seem to function this way naturally that’s why I prefer to contract with them instead of the corporate monstrosities and their inane bureaucracies.

  44. Scot Gorman says:

    This is well researched and makes a brilliant proposition about where management should be today. Unfortunately too few CEOs are acting on this message right now and instead continue to wallow in the murky waters of their fishbowl meeting rooms.

  45. Everit Dirksen says:

    I believed the era of agile management had arrived before I read this post. The author has made a most eloquent expression and yet marvelously simple history of modern management theory, though. I found myself rereading it for pure pleasure after I quickly zipped through it. What I see is a fundamental shift from large organizations to small businesses run by technical experts rather than by management experts. These are people who have no time for the nonsense of administrative managers who do nothing other than oversee the work of others. My question for the author is: do you see the same trend? If so, do you have any hard numbers associated with this phenomena?

  46. Brandon Helmon says:

    What an education you have provided here! It sums up recent management theory, strategic management and planning and deals with all the buzz about knowledge management. Nice job Brian!

  47. Stan Kubrick says:

    I normally hate the garbage written by the talking heads on management theory. I am on the contrary, very impressed with this article Brian. It is short and to the point and based on solid research. This is the kind of quality writing I as an IT Manager look for, but so seldom find!

  48. J.Beltran says:

    I am sold when is your book coming out on Modern Management?

  49. Bjorn Jorgensen says:

    This was a very interesting article! Is this an American geocentric view or do you see this era of agile management as being internationally based?

  50. Erik J. Gudmundson, Phd. says:

    This is a profoundly simple and deep analysis of business management in modern history! The way you express the movement from processes to people to knowledge is simply elegant! I believe that it would be of tremendous benefit if you could explore in more detail what were the valuable lessons learned in each phase and how they are carried forward. You imply that each phase was built on top of the precious ones. I am very impressed with this article, your writing and this blog in general.
    E. Gudmundson

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