Agile and Beyond – Steve Denning’s Keynote Overview

Duane OdumMr. Denning received the most impressive round of applause at Agile and Beyond after his “60 second” presentation of his speech.  It was one of the best introductory portions of a keynote I have seen at a conference.  He managed to give a great overview of his speech that allowed those of us in attendance to follow along with his actual speech as if we had heard it before and that tends to make things “stick” a little longer for those of us whose brains are going a million miles an hour 24/7.

I have to admit that I was not nearly as exited to hear Mr. Denning as I was David Anderson but after his address Mr. Denning has earned at least on more Twitter follower @stevedenning.  The simple yet constantly overlooked aspect of an organization is the purpose of the organization.   When I was in school and learning about business I thought it was common sense that a for-profit organization was in business to make money. Mr. Denning brought me and hopefully most of the other individuals in attendance to the realization that making money is not really the goal.

It was certainly a tough concept to swallow.  Every for-profit company has to make money or face the inevitability of failure.  However, if we look beyond the dollars and cent of a business the ultimate goal of an organization is the idea of “customer delight”.  If customers are happy with the products and/or services that your organization provides then the profits will come as a consequence of those customers satisfaction.  Mr. Denning even quoted Peter Drucker “The only valid purpose of a firm is to create a customer.” This phrase has been around since 1973 and is still as relevant today as it was then.  Sometimes we just get so caught up in the “next big thing” that we can lose sight of what we are really trying to achieve.

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