Group 1 Foundation of Agile MethodsTOWARDS A FRAMEWORK OF AGILE METHODS

Flexibility is often interpreted as per its simple dictionary definition as simply: “the ability to adapt to change”.
However, the body of research on the definition of flexibility indicates such an interpretation is too simple.
This research proposes the following refined definition of flexibility which reflects the robust, proactive, reactive and temporal dimensions of flexibility “the ability of an entity to proactively, reactively or inherently embrace change in a timely manner, through its internal components and its relationships with its environment.”

Agility v. Flexibility

Our definition of flexibility can be amended to reflect these differences, and can therefore be said to subsume the flexible component of agility. The modified definition now reads as: “the continual readiness of an entity to rapidly or inherently, proactively or reactively, embrace change, through its collective components.


Unlike the concept of flexibility, the notion of leanness is relatively straight-forward. It is “the elimination of waste” and “doing more with less” Different authors have conflicting opinions regarding the benefits and drawbacks of using a lean approach. However, there is a general consensus that such an approach broadly consists of the following principles:

l Utilisation of all resources is maximised, and no unnecessary resources are maintained.

l Simplicity of tasks, information flow and information processes is maximised.

l A product or activity should pass through the necessary components of an entity and the components of its partners in a single flow.

l A high level of quality must be maintained through defect prevention not correction. A “root cause” approach is taken to problem solving to maximise added value.

The proposed definition of leanness is:

“ The maximisation of simplicity, quality and economy”
Agility v. Leanness

Some believe that although agility exhibits similar traits to leanness in terms of simplicity and quality, the literature has identified one major difference in terms of economy [44]. Ultimate leanness is to eliminate all waste. Agility requires waste to be eliminated, but only to the extent where its ability torespond to change is not hindered. As this does not remove the need to be economical, only lower its priority, it is important that the definition of agility is modified to incorporate all elements of leanness, which was defined above as “the maximisation of simplicity, quality and economy”.

Proposed Definition of Agility

After consideration of the literature on flexibility and leanness and, after accounting for the differences between these concepts and the concepts of agility, the final definition of agility in this study is: “the continual readiness of an entity to rapidly or inherently, proactively or reactively, embrace change, through high quality, simplistic, economical components and relationships with its environment”.


Brian Fitzgerald & Kieran Conboy, (2004),”Toward a Conceptual Framework of Agile Methods: A Study of Agility in Different Disciplines