I listened to the SIKM Leaders discussion this week with Steve Denning discussing his new book, The Leaders' Guide to Radical Management. I've heard him speak and write on it extensively, but something struck me in the conversation.
In particular, Denning has discovered that new forms of organization are arising in places that have been truly practicing Agile and Lean and other methodologies that are based on iterations and cycles. You can't do just one big "improvement" and be done with it. On top of that, the ongoing improvements that you make must continuously deliver more of what the customer wants/needs: quality, lead time, features, price, etc. There is an important aspect here here that requires some organizational maturity: the area of the business you improved last time may not be where the customer wants improvements next time. The organization has to be able to step back and reflect on how it operates at many levels. Effectiveness in this arena has two elements: doing the right thing, and not doing the wrong thing. These concepts are reflected in Theory of Constraints, Lean, Agile and other systems thinking approaches to organizations.