Make Your Business Agile


A Roadmap for Transforming Your Management and

Adapting to the ‘New Normal’


Advances in Project Management Series


by Peter Taylor

United Kingdom

Professor Julian Birkinshaw,[1] Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School has suggested that the world is entering something he calls ‘The Age of Agile’.

Organisations throughout history, Birkinshaw said in a speech at the Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna Austria, were of three types: bureaucracies, meritocracies, and adhocracies.

The age of bureaucracy was where power was through hierarchy and managed by rules, the age of meritocracy was where power was through knowledge and guided by logical argument, but now we are in the age of adhocracy where it is about action, about getting things done, and done fast. Experimentation and outcome achievement are key.

We are, I believe, in the age of the ‘Business Agile’. We are also, without doubt, in the VUCA world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

Note: When the author first submitted the proposal for this book there was a clear need to win the argument that we lived in a VUCA world with many people but based on the world’s very immediate experiences of global disruption perhaps this argument is one that no longer is required. We have all lived through one of the most impactful world-wide events in our lifetime and what we have collectively experienced ticks all of the boxes of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

Covid-19 is truly a Black Swan event experience.[2]

A Black Swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences.

Black Swan events are characterised by their extreme rarity, severe impact, and the widespread insistence they were obvious in hindsight (this is already happening).

Note: That said, within the business world it is perhaps still relevant to put forward this explanation/argument in order to gain the right attention for a change in attitude, behaviour, and focus and a move towards a ‘Business Agile’ world.

‘Business Agile’ is the approach of providing greater flexibility and faster decision-making in the modern business world, a world where organisations that aren’t business agile will take longer to succeed and be less flexible in this modern, demanding business world, and fail at a faster rate potentially.

But that brings about a challenge with regards to supporting this rapidly moving world of change driven through projects.


To read entire article, click here

Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Routledge worldwide. Their contributions to the PMWJ are coordinated by Prof Darren Dalcher, Lancaster University Management School, UK.

How to cite this paper: Taylor, P. (2021). Make Your Business Agile: A Roadmap for Transforming Your Management and Adapting to the ‘New Normal, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue V, May. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/pmwj105-May2021-Taylor-make-your-business-agile.pdf

About the Author

Peter Taylor

United Kingdom


 Speaker, Consultant, Trainer and Coach, Peter Taylor is the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’, along with many other books on Project Management, PMO development, Executive Sponsorship, Transformation Leadership, and Speaking Skills.

He has delivered over 450 lectures around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’; in 2020 he was awarded the PMO Global Alliance ‘PMO Influencer of the Year Award’. Learn more at www.thelazyprojectmanager.com

To see Peter’s newest book, Make Your Business Agile: A Roadmap for Transforming Your Management and Adapting to the ‘new Normal, published by Routledge and available through book sellers worldwide, click here.


[1] Julian Birkinshaw FBA, FAcSS is a British academic. He is Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School, where he is the Academic Director of the Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is the author of four books on management.

[2] We might even argue the world hit an entire flock of black swans such is the global impact.