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Radical Agility



I have written before about how I set up OKRs for myself at the start of each year. But I plan ahead only for a week at the most. I was speaking to someone yesterday when the term 'Radical Agility' was mentioned. I'm usually one to avoid jargon and use whatever words are available to convey the message as that's what matters in the end.

And later on, when I googled 'Radical Agility', I found out that it is something similar. It simply means that use whatever is available, whatever you're familiar with and get to the goal. Because that's the only thing that matters. It is specifically used in software development where different sub-teams have the autonomy to use whatever software programming language and technology they want to, as long as they reach the stated goal.

Before executing something, it is sensible to have a plan. But how long should the plan be for? A week? A month? A year? Ten years? And it needn't just be about executing a project or learning something new. A career can have a plan. So can a year long trip around the world. Planning focuses on milestones and specifics. It helps break down the stated end goal into multiple sub goals spaced over shorter timescales.

So it is easy to get drawn into outlining the specifics of how each of these smaller sub goals should be reached. Which is cumbersome and a humungous waste of time. Because planning only helps in an environment that you have a reasonable level of control over. And as the timescale grows longer, the lesser control you exert over the various variables in the environment that you operate in. And it is futile to plan out details beyond a certain timescale.

Instead, what helps is to have a commitment. A commitment to reach the stated end goal in the longer time frame no matter what happens. Of course, that still doesn't guarantee that the goal will be reached, but it removes the pressure of operating under false constraints. And it makes it easier to adapt to the changes in the environment. Because, now you can formulate a new plan over each of the shorter timescales as and when you need them. And not much before.

To get anything done, you need a plan for the immediate timeframe. And a commitment for the longer timeframe. 

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