Monday, May 26, 2008

Agile Business

I might not have known a lot about Agile Software Development, but I kinda like the word “Agile”, which to means sounds like something light and fast. In fact, I kinda prefer Agile Business, a business which is lightweight and move really fast.

I know of a group of friends who setup a business, with around 5-6 partners. With such number, the obvious drawback is slow decision making and inconsistent feedback. You need to get a majority (if not all) the partners together in order to discuss on a certain matter (which is not easy), before taking a vote to make the decision and decide on which unlucky person have to take up the responsibility to execute the task. Weekly meeting is painfully slow, and not everyone will show up (much like your Dewan Rakyat, sometimes absent with painful and long winding debate without results). As the Chinese saying goes, one mountain can’t have 2 tigers, and you can’t have 2 decision makers making different decisions. It’s not that democracy is bad, just that it’s painfully slow and might not be efficient.

The scenario is just too typical; perhaps a few tweaking might change for the better. Perhaps a strong and charismatic leader (ahem! RARE!) is required to lead all the generals, and each general/minister should a different responsibility. As always, things will never be equal or fair; thus lots of sharing, understanding, compromise and faith is required. Should like Marriage right?

Then we have these Giant companies where the decision making is painfully slow. They might want you to deliver yesterday without even issuing you a Purchase Order. The administration of the company could not keep up with the speed of the business. Too many red tapes, too many procedures, and no one really care about productivity or doing business. People are too busy being compliance rather than trying to make money. In such situation, we need a powerful person who can overwrite all the procedure and give you a decision on the sport without going through all the bureaucracy. An exception is the hierarchy, and it’s needed.

Me, a really micro business and probably agile, but with little resources and no army at my disposal. I can’t consider it a real business yet, since it won’t run without my presence (I am working towards that direction). Decision making is lightning fast and zero communication barrier internally. Too bad the business can only be what I could become, expand because of me and limited by me at the same time. I could take in a partner (perhaps a strategic business partner, it's like relationship without the marriage), but the role and responsibility should be modular and non-overlapping. He should do what I couldn’t do or not good at; He should complement me; I should delegate if possible. The business is pretty much Agile (perhaps the most agile in the world), just that it haven’t make more money than those non-Agile business.

Anyway, I enjoy the agility :) Now, about the money making part ...

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