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Sooner Safer Happier: Antipatterns and Patterns for Business Agility Hardcover – 10 November 2020
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"This is one of the most important Agile books since The Phoenix Project." ―Charles Betz, Principle Analyst, Forrester Research
Winner of the Bronze Medal in Leadership from the Axiom Business Book Awards.
It's no secret that we are living in the Digital Age. Technology companies make up seven of the world's ten largest firms by market capitalization. And the key to their success is the key to all modern organizations.
Jonathan Smart, business agility practitioner, thought leader, and coach, reveals the patterns and antipatterns that will help organizations from every industry deliver better value sooner, safer, and happier through high levels of engagement, inclusion, and empowerment. Through his decades of experience in the technology world, Smart provides business leaders with a blueprint for creating a world-class organization of the future.
Through Agile and Lean ways of working, business leaders can empower teams to improve production, grow together, and create better services for their customers. These better ways of working have overflowed from the IT department to every corner of successful organizations, taking root in every industry from aerospace to accounting, insurance to shipping.
This book is not about software development. It is not a book about the computer industry. This book is about applying agility across the entire organization. It's a book that will put you at the front of change and ahead of the competition.
"A true business-wide perspective on Digital Transformation and the need for whole business agility." ―Adam Banks, Non Executive Director and Former CTIO of AP Moller Maersk
**Note from the Authors: Purchases will result in the planting of trees and empowerment of women, in countries with the lowest scores on the IUCN's gender and environment index. It's not just carbon neutral, purchases in any format will result in, on average, 10x greater carbon offset.
"Sooner Safer Happier nails the point that many leaders miss―transformation in itself is not a worthy goal, it is a vehicle for optimizing business outcomes. This book provides an indispensable guide for leaders who wish to run truly agile organizations. It leaves no stone left unturned. Smart, Berend, Ogilvie, and Rohrer address the leadership challenges, cultural barriers, and antipatterns that prevent too many organizations from realizing their potential in today's complex environment. They offer specific and immediately useful techniques for driving business results and a culture that reinforces continuous improvement long-term. Sooner Safer Happier is a must-read for any business leader looking to succeed in the digital age." -- David Silverman, President of American Atheists, Co-Author of Team of Teams and CEO of CrossLead
“What [Jon] has achieved and created to help others succeed is nothing short of exceptional…These stories are hard won, practical, and real. You'll read this book and leave with actionable ideas and a fresh perspective to find your own path of change for your organization and yourself, delivering better value sooner, safer, and happier.” -- Barry O'Reilly, Co-Founder Nobody Studios, author of Unlearn and Lean Enterprise
“It is a real pleasure to read a book that doesn't assume ‘Agile is the solution, now what is your problem?' This is a realistic approach to adopting (or not adopting) agile in your organization. The theory is sound; the practice is extensive. I strongly recommend this book.” -- Dave Snowden, Chief Scientific Officer, Cognitive Edge, Creator of Cynefin
“How I wish I had been lucky enough to have read this book a few years ago when embarking on my own attempt to deliver Value Sooner Safer Happier in the internal audit function at Barclays….This book is not just a great handbook to draw from to assist you on your journey, it is also a great read!“ -- Sally Clark, Executive Coach, NED, Strategic Advisor and Avid Agilist
“A true business-wide perspective on Digital Transformation and the need for whole business agility.” -- Adam Banks, Non Executive Director and Former CTIO of AP Møller Maersk
“True organizational agility does not come from following a particular framework or method prescriptively, but rather by taking responsibility for optimizing your own ways of working (WoW) that makes sense for you. This book is an invaluable guide for change agents looking to help organizations to remain relevant and indeed thrive in an increasingly challenging business environment.” -- Mark Lines, Cocreator of Disciplined Agile
“Better Value Sooner Safer Happier. These five words, taken to heart, could very well change everything….The book itself is a masterpiece of both insight and practical advice. From the opening of the introduction, I couldn't stop reading. Throughout the writing, complex concepts are made clear and accessible, which, in turn, sets the tone for the practical content. By intertwining patterns and antipatterns, anyone can open this book to a random chapter and apply the tactics within to improve their business.” -- Evan Leybourn, Co-Founder & CEO, Business Agility Institute
“This book is essential reading for organizations stuck with large “scaling” frameworks that treat people and teams as interchangeable units. Instead, they need to carefully study and take conclusions from this set of patterns and anti-patterns for true organizational agility. If they want to stay alive, that is.” -- Matthew Skelton, coauthor of Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow
“This book is essential reading for organizations stuck with large “scaling” frameworks that treat people and teams as interchangeable units. Instead, they need to carefully study and take conclusions from this set of patterns and anti-patterns for true organizational agility. If they want to stay alive, that is.” -- Manel Pais, Co-Author of Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow
“This book is indispensable, an absolute must read for anyone responsible for software delivery….[Sooner Safer Happier] provides a comprehensive analysis of the new ways of working...It's not just about agile, it's not just about lean, it's not just about DevOps, it's not about one set of prescriptive practices―its about new ways of working for better outcomes….I'm sure I will be coming back to refer to sections of this book regularly to guide me to avoid potholes and accelerate my own unique journey to being better.” -- Brijesh Ammanath, Barclays
“Most organizations would say they have a solid strategy, and some are pursuing new ways of working to achieve that strategy; however, often not in an optimal way. BVSSH is the unlock for organizations, and this book gives the practical guidance to WIN.” -- Courtney Kissler, CTO, Zulily
“While so many are trying to do Agile, experienced thought-leader Jon Smart illuminates how they miss the point and in great detail offers tangible ways for teams and companies to course correct….Jon's book provides a logical, in-depth guide flagging the pitfalls of the plethora of anti-patterns he has witnessed while generously sharing workarounds and better ways of working. [Sooner Safer Happier] has so many valuable enterprise agility lessons that it could be used for an MBA course. I wish this had been available when I started on my agility journey over a decade ago―it would have saved me learning many of these lessons the hard way.” -- Leah Jochim
“We've all seen these anti-patterns before―from organizations tackling agility with a “one size fits all” approach to individuals putting their faith in tools and processes instead of people. Jon Smart brilliantly weaves theory and real-world experiences to provide antidotes that are focused on delivering better value sooner, safer, and happier….Truly, a great and essential book for every agilist, leader or change agent!” -- Ahmed Sidky, PhD, President of the International Consortium for Agile (ICAgile) and Head of Business Agility at Riot Games
“This book is a treasure-trove for anyone involved or interested in the theory and practice of business agility. Jon Smart and co-authors give a compelling ‘Why?' for the need to change and clear, practical anti-patterns and corresponding patterns of success. A game-changer for our organization and I'm confident for others' too.” -- Richard James
“How many times do we hear the word Agile being misused in today's corporate world? Jonathan's excellent book provides us all with a very practical guide on how to embrace agility in an ever increasingly digital, chaotic, and challenging world where the path to delivering outcomes is uncertain.” -- Ian Buchanan, Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Wollongong, Independent Board Director and Advisor, Former CIO/COO Barclays, Société Générale, Nomura
“There are lots of books on organizational agility. But few are as comprehensive or thought-provoking as Jon Smart's tour de force, Soon Safer Happier. Jon has worked on the frontlines of the agile movement for almost thirty years, and he does a superb job of integrating his direct experience with the theories of organizational change. If you want to improve how your organization works, read this book!” -- Julian Birkinshaw, Professor and Deputy Dean, London Business School
“I can't recommend this book enough. BVSSH is kind of a “meta framework”―flexible yet explainable, realistic yet capable of step changes in effectiveness. Jon is a master coach and guide. Read, read again, and share.” -- John Cutler, Product Evangelist, Amplitude
“As someone who works in a large financial services organization, many of the points raised in this book resonated with my personal experience. The anti-pattern vs. pattern structure brings the principles to life and overlays real-world corporate culture with some of the ‘hacks' to influence and drive change. This is a book that can be picked up by anyone across the business and is one that I will certainly be recommending to all our business and technology partners alike.” -- Chris Orson, Head of Digital and Data, HSBC Securities Services
“There are many books on WHAT was done and WHAT excellent firms do in their quest for success. They often tell you WHAT you should do. This gem of guidance is destined to become the manual on HOW to deliver better value, sooner, safer and happier through engaging customers, colleagues, leaders, and importantly boards!” -- Michael Harte
“Jon provides an authoritative and engaging description of how to set teams up to build great things, and ultimately delivers a handbook for overall organizational effectiveness and successful transformation that I will keep close.” -- Werner Loots, EVP Transformation, U.S. Bank
“[Sooner Safer Happier] describes a set of patterns and antipatterns―with a great set of skills―to help you understand what is happening to stop teams delivering SSH and why it may be happening.” -- Jenny Wood, Royal Bank of Scotland
“If you are involved in the journey toward a safer, faster, happier organization that produces value at every step, this should be required reading. The ‘patterns and anti-patterns' approach means that you can easily spot where things may go wrong, and will have at hand some proven patterns to fix it. This is as close to a field-guide as I have seen, and speaks of real and practical experience.” -- Dawie Olivier, GM for Enterprise Transformation, Westpac
About the Author
Jonathan Smart has been leading an agile approach to change as a business technologist for nearly thirty years, starting out as a developer on the trading floor in investment banking. Today, Smart leads Deloitte's Business Agility practice, helping organizations deliver better value sooner, safer, and happier through the application of Agile, Lean, and DevOps principles and practices organization wide.
Previously Smart lead Ways of Working globally for Barclays Bank where his teams, on average, delivered three times as much in a third of the time, with fewer production incidents and the highest ever employee engagement scores. He and his team won the Best Internal Agile Team award at the Agile Awards in 2016.
Smart is also the founder of the Enterprise Agility Leaders Network, a member of the Programming Committee for the DevOps Enterprise Summit, a member of the Business Agility Institute Advisory Council, a guest speaker at London Business School, and speaks at numerous conferences a year.
Zsolt Berendis a business agility practitioner, coach, and trainer. He helps global organizations on their journey to achieving Better Value Sooner Safer Happier. He began his early career as a research fellow in astrophysics, and then spent twenty years across industry sectors in various roles applying agile and lean practices, mainly in telecom, healthcare, financial services, and consulting. He was the global chair of the Agile Community of Practice at Barclays with more than 2,500 members, and with the Ways of Working Center of Enablement team, won “Best Internal Agile Team” at the Agile Awards 2016. He writes on Medium and is a speaker at conferences and meetups. His passion is data, measurements, insights, and the creation of learning organizations.
Myles Ogilviehas led, supported, and coached change initiatives within large and small enterprises for over twenty-five years. An advocate of no-nonsense problem-solving, he seeks to build transparency, improve collaboration, and enable outcomes that produce Better Value Sooner Safer Happier During 2016, when leading ways of working for a major UK investment bank during a period of intense regulatory and controls scrutiny, Myles applied lean and agile principles to risk management in the product development process. He is now a passionate advocate of patterns that can help foster a safer, leaner, and more innovative controls culture.
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Top reviews from other countries
I mention or reference BVSSH to my team and colleagues at least daily and have given the book 4 times as a gift.
Everyone involved in shaping how an organisation works and thinks should have a copy of Sooner Safer Happier next to their desks.