© 2017

The Journey to Enterprise Agility

Systems Thinking and Organizational Legacy


  • The first book to provide guidance on addressing the potential mismatch between Agile software teams, program managers, enterprise architects, executives and many other groups

  • A new perspective beyond just the latest “best practices” and into the worldview and intentions that can help software teams succeed

  • Every chapter includes sections on “Test Drive Your Knowledge” and “Try This Next” to reinforce individual learning (for executives, managers and individual contributors)

  • An additional website offers a wealth of additional summaries, tips and pitfalls


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 17-22
  3. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 23-33
  4. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 47-79
  5. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 81-93
  6. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 95-122
  7. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 123-135
  8. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 153-162
  9. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 163-182
  10. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 183-196
  11. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 197-209
  12. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 211-215
  13. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 237-264
  14. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 265-272
  15. Daryl Kulak, Hong Li
    Pages 273-278

About this book


This is the first book to seriously address the disconnection between nimble Agile teams and other groups in the enterprise, including enterprise architecture, the program management office (PMO), human resources, and even business executives.

When an enterprise experiments with practice improvements, software development teams often jump on board with excitement, while other groups are left to wonder how they will fit in.

We address how these groups can adapt to Agile teams. More importantly, we show how many Agile teams cause their own problems, damaging scalability and sustainability, by requiring special treatment, and by failing to bridge the gaps between themselves and other groups. We call this phenomenon “Agile illth.”

Adopting a set of “best practices” is not enough. All of us, Agile teams and the corporate groups, must change our intentions and worldviews to be more compatible with the success of the enterprise.

Join us on the journey to enterprise agility. It is a crooked path, fraught with danger, confusion and complexity. It is the only way to reach the pinnacles we hope to experience in the form of better business value delivered faster for less cost.


Agile software development Software development techniques Collaboration in software development Software project management Systems thinking

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.WestervilleUSA
  2. 2.WestervilleUSA

About the authors

Daryl Kulak is an executive consultant with Pillar Technology in Columbus, Ohio. He has played almost every role on the software development team, from programmer to business analyst to architect to methodologist to tester to manager. Daryl has helped dozens of organizations in making the transition to Agile, and worked on his first iterative and incremental project in 1998 (before the Agile term was coined).

Dr. Hong Li is a senior consultant working in Columbus, Ohio. He was born in China and was one of the lucky ones to survive the Cultural Revolution. He attended Purdue University and University of Pittsburgh, attaining a PhD in Engineering and an MBA. Hong helps organizations with custom software development and data analytical solutions, using an Agile development lifecycle. Hong has done extensive research in the systems thinking field, particularly focusing on Robert Rosen's work with the M-R model and anticipatory systems.  

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Chemical Manufacturing
IT & Software
Consumer Packaged Goods
Finance, Business & Banking


“A masterful, thought-provoking read for any business leader motivated to sustainably improve business value. Its delightfully entertaining but substance-rich style will readily guide you to “aha moments" on how to advance agile software development to enterprise scale!” (Conal Thompson, CTO and VP of IT, Chemical Abstracts Service, a Division of the American Chemical Society)

“At recent conferences of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), I have enjoyed talking with Daryl, learning about his work, and witnessing the evolution of this book. I'm impressed with the way he and co-author Hong have effectively linked abstract concepts of systems theories with good, practical advice for software development teams. They've created a valuable bridge between academic scholarship in the systems field and the day-to-day functioning of software teams. A must-read for software managers.” (Debora Hammond, PhD, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, Sonoma State University; author of "The Science of Synthesis: Exploring the Social Implications General Systems Theory"; past president of ISSS)

“Dr. Li and Daryl have produced a very nice book in “The Journey to Enterprise Agility.”  This book integrates the highest priority ingredients that are necessary to achieve true enterprise agility.  My favorite ingredient is human relationships. This book not only includes important teaching on process, technology, value, etc.  but also on human relationships.  It is no wonder that Hong and Daryl have not only written this excellent book but also that they have spent their careers successfully developing systems within an enterprise agility framework.” (Angelo Mazzocco, CIO, Central Ohio Primary Care)

“This is a marvelous book! It only took a few pages to realize that the authors have created a sound basis for effective team performance. The Journey to Enterprise Agility provides a mindset, not a static formula, which is refreshing. Any software development organization that chooses not to embrace what this book offers probably misses an opportunity to enhance their performance.” (Gene Bellinger, Director - Systems Thinking World,

“Have you wondered how to improve the process of software product development? It's about changing your approach to leadership, your concept of professionalism, even how you see the world. But it's worth it. Daryl and Hong's book will give you details on how to make that shift.” (Philip Pointer, VP Applications Development, Mednax National Medical Group)

“I recommend this book to everybody involved in software development who wants to enjoy an original perspective on software development and how to improve it.” (Franco Martinig, Editor of the Methods and Tools magazine -