Agility in Business


(The Lean Startup)


By Angelica Larios

Mexico City, Mexico

Entrepreneurship is an adventurous and risky activity, for those like me who have started the venture of initiating and keeping a business will always be both challenging and rewarding. But forming a company is not limited to entrepreneurs only; any other executive or manager, or project manager in charge of creating a new product, service, or venture is subject to being under risk and lacking control of several aspects.

For years, management classes focused on operations, great companies, and, in general, organizations that are well-established and working under acceptable terms. The training provided from finance, accountants, information system, and other proper management such as strategic management, operations, marketing, and so are oriented for businesses that have already established stability. On the other hand, startups or initiating a business has traditionally been treated as business-as-usual losing focus on what makes it different when you start a new venture. For those who happen to study management by any chance, have taken business courses, or decided to start a proper company, the traditional approach of a business plan or even an extended plan term is probably not in use anymore. There is a rationale behind it.

In the latest years, agile methodologies have appeared from I.T. environments to management and business having a different approach to managing things. Interaction with the customer, cycles of review and corrections, shorts the gap between what was desired and the result. This methodology has also been applied to initial business with a surprising result. Of course, there are some rejections or objections to this approach, but in general, it looks like a lean approach could be beneficial for the characteristics of a starting business.

  1. Starting with the basics

Understanding what an entrepreneur is, in general, “is an individual owner of a private firm expecting to benefit directly from the entrepreneurial profits of their labors.” (Boyett, I., 1996). The entrepreneur is under challenging circumstances and with much incertitude to start a business with many things out of control.

Back in 1734, Richard Cantillon defined the “entrepreneur” as the individual’s role within business markets driven by a desire for profit and possessing the ability to risk buying cheap and selling dear. (Cantillon, R. 1931). A century later, Jean Baptiste Say was to include those individuals who utilized periods of change and uncertainty to reallocate resources to maximize their entrepreneurial profit levels within a given market. (Say, J., 1827).  Ries (2011) opens the concept to include those inside organizations calling them “intrapreneurs” as those who operate inside an established organization running exceptional circumstances that attend building a startup within larger companies.

Entrepreneurship also occurs in the public sector where there is an uncertain environment, a devolution of power, and at the same time, re‐allocation of resource ownership to unit management level. “It is driven by those individuals, particularly susceptible to the “manipulation” of their stakeholders and with a desire for a high level of social “self‐satisfaction,” who can spot market opportunities and who are able through follower “manipulation” to act on them.” Boyett, I. (1996).

On the other hand, the startup is “a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” (Ries, 2011). The startup then “might be better conceived as a performative, as a particular mode of speaking and acting, knowledge and ignorance, which are produced and reproduced, alongside digital media and other kinds of economic activities.” (Cockayne, D., 2019). It has been suggested that part of what startups produce is not just digital media and other kinds of technologies but also attachments to working conditions and particular types of knowledge and ignorance (see Cockayne, 2016a).


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How to cite this article: Larios, A. (2020).  Agility in Business (The Lean Startup), PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue VI, June.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/pmwj106-Jun2021-Larios-agile-in-business-advisory.pdf

About the Author

Angelica Larios, PMP

Mexico City, Mexico


Angelica Larios, MBA, PMP, is a project manager with more than 20 years of experience in implementing software projects related to business intelligence, planning and budgeting, and financial consolidation solutions based on software applications to support the business decision process. She is the owner of ALACONTEC, an I.T. consulting company founded in Latin America. She has held several professional positions in private and public organizations, such as the Health Ministry in Mexico as an I.T. director and as a business manager for several Mexican firms.

She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) in addition to her studies in project management and her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, which have helped her to consolidate her career and have a better understanding of what businesses and projects need nowadays. She is a doctoral student in strategic leadership at Regent University, VA; she is a volunteer since 2007, starting in the local Mexico chapter, being Past President and in several positions within PMI (CMAG, BVAC), and currently serves on the Ethics Member Advisory Group (EMAG) that supports the PMI Global Operations (2018–2020).

Angelica can be contacted at angelica.larios@gmail.com

To view other works by Angelica Larios, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/angelica-larios/.