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If you’ve been following me, then you probably know that I consider Jim Highsmith my mentor. Jim is one of the 17 signers of the Agile Manifesto, a prolific author and blogger, and a truly original thinker. I first met Jim during my last (and horrifying) waterfall project. Jim gently encouraged me to think about how agile might apply to data warehousing. He also taught me a lot about freelance consulting and book writing.

Many of you know who Jim Highsmith is. But for those of you who don’t, Jim has more than 30 years of experience in IT and is the recipient of the 2005 Stevens Award for outstanding contributions to systems development. Jim is also the author of Adaptive Software Development (2000 Jolt Award winner), Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products, Agile Software Development Ecosystems and the just-released Adaptive Leadership: Accelerating Enterprise Agility

In Adaptive Leadership, Highsmith has compiled, updated, and extended his best writings about agile and lean methods for a management audience. Key themes include:

  • Drawing on what’s been learned in application development, this guide shows how to use adaptive leadership techniques to transform the way you deliver complete solutions, whatever form they take.
  • How enterprise agility can enable the ambitious organizational missions that matter most.
  • How leaders can deliver a continuous stream of value.
  • How to think disruptively about opportunities and how to respond quickly by creating more adaptive, innovative organizations.
  • Integrating economics, products, and social responsibility.
  • Understanding the financial implications of technical debt.

“We are at a tipping point. Technology—cloud, big data, mobility, social media—tops CEOs’ list of concerns per a recent IBM study. Companies that emerge successfully from this havoc will need to build agility into the very fabric of their organizations and develop the technological savvy to enable that agility. Adaptive Leadership provides a framework for such a transformation,” Highsmith said.

Read more in a recent Q&A with Jim on the ThoughtWorks Insights page where he talks about the evolution of agile and the role of senior management in an enterprise-wide Agile transformation.

Check out ThoughtWorks’ resources on Agile Project Management. 

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I fear that, “agile as the latest magic bullet” has crossed the chasm, but that “agile as a different way of behaving” has not."
- Ken Collier
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