The Eight Patterns of Open Business Agility

Credential Earned: OLN-PATTERNS1 (Open Business Agility Patterns Level 1) 

Course Overview

“Business Agility” — The trend of agile approaches moving up and out of engineering and into mainstream business– is real. Dogmatic and rigid Agile frameworks do not work well for implementing business agility. Instead, a tailored approach based on proven patterns is what wins this game. For most enterprises, a focus on patterns is essential for achieving genuine and lasting business agility.

The bridge from principles to practices is patterns. A focus on patterns has clear advantages. A pattern can be satisfied with any number of practices, resulting in freedom of choice in terms of practices selected. Enterprise change programs routinely fail, in part because practices are implemented without regard to the proven patterns that inform the design of those practices.

“Thank you for this wonderful course. I value Daniel’s guidance and it was mind-blowing trying to absorb the broad scope and depth of his knowledge and experience, especially in the latest follow-up session. It was money well-spent and I am looking forward to more learnings from OLN.”

-Aloysius Lim, Singapore

“We had a great 4-session training on the 8 patterns and practices of Open Business Agility. It was really great to map some of what we do, back to one or more of the patterns and see how they are related, and depend on one another for success in organizational agility. Loved the insight into Leadership Invitation, concept of Game Design and practices like the Authority Circle.

“Highly recommended for those of you who are interested in learning more about improving organizational agility.”

Shibu Abraham,  Singapore

Daniel Mezick Thank you for a great course ‘8 Patterns of Open Business Agility’ presented in a very engaging way last week!

Unlike a lot of other courses, it was a great opportunity to learn about patterns before practices/frameworks. The idea is to identify and choose practices which manifest certain patterns, which are informed by Values and Principles. 
We speak about and focus a lot on Values, Principles and then Practices. But looking at things from lens of patterns was very interesting and insightful! 

Leadership Invitation is the keystone pattern with 7 other supporting patterns. Other highlight from the course:

** NO Slides, YES! Focus was on individuals and Interactions which led to very engaged learning 🙂

** Dan’s rich experience of more than two decades made it very insightful! 

Ruma Dak. Lean/Agile Enterprise Coach/Australia (Linkedin: Ruma Dak)

Who Should Attend

  • Executive sponsors of change programs
  • Transformation and enterprise/organizational coaches currently working at the Team level
  • Scrum Masters
  • External and internal Agile Transformation Leads


This is a full-day day course delivered in 8 hours when presented online. The sessions are typically 4 sessions of 2 hours each or 3 sessions of 2.75 hours each depending on how the instructor sets up the schedule. 



  • The Case for Patterns over Practices
  • Principles, Patterns and Practices
  • Implementing the Patterns as Leadership Behavior
  • ​Implementing the Patterns as guidance for Interaction


Leadership Invitation: Open patterns use an opt-in “pull” approach rather than an imposition-based “push” approach to manifest and maintain enterprise-level change. Anti-pattern: Imposition.

Clarity of Authorization: In the Open approach, the delegation of responsibility always includes the clear and explicit delegation of the authority that is actually needed to deliver. Anti-pattern: Lack of clarity in authorization, especially pertaining to decision rights.

Use of Interaction Protocols: Open approaches clarify communication and understanding through protocols, which are small, shared agreements about how essential interactions are structured. Protocols enhance clarity of communication. Anti-pattern: Lack of shared signals.

Empirical Approach: Organizations are more like living systems than they are like machines. Acknowledging this reality includes recognizing the need for frequent iterations of experimentation and “learning by doing.” Anti-pattern: Ad-hoc approach.

Whole-Group Process: Open approaches favor whole-group process over closed-door dialogue. To the maximum extent possible, the Open approach favors “getting the whole system in the room” to validate assumptions, gauge overall group readiness, and obtain validated, org-level alignments before proceeding. Anti-pattern: Closed-door decision making.

Common Knowledge: Often associated with transparency, common knowledge is up-to-date shared information that everyone in the organization knows. The generation of common knowledge is essential to coordinating very large groups at scale. Anti-pattern: Siloed knowledge.

Boundary Management: Especially with respect to authority and authorization, when using Open patterns and practices, essential boundaries are clearly defined by executive leaders. These boundaries are open enough to generate self-organization and are explicitly communicated and carefully maintained. Anti-pattern: No clear boundaries.

Proceeding with Explicit Agreement: An organization of individuals is largely defined by the expressed and implied agreements that those individuals enter into. Open patterns and practices make those agreements explicit. Anti-pattern: Dictating or delegating without clear agreement.

Each of these patterns can be satisfied with any number of practical approaches. Useful practices embody fundamentally useful Open patterns that enable great work, and great group process.

What You Will Learn

Upon conclusion of this course, you will understand the Eight Patterns of Open Business Agility and how to implement them. You’ll know tools and techniques for choosing appropriate practices to fit your purpose and context. You’ll have the know-how and tools to communicate this approach to executive decision-makers. You’ll be ready to craft and implement a coherent, safe, and pragmatic plan for your enterprise-wide business agility program.

Takeaway Materials

Students receive several resources, including: 

  • Checklists for preparing to communicate with executives; each covers a domain area of concern as you prepare to interact and ultimately coach executives
  • Infographics toolkit with PPTX files that are use to support your presentations and plans
  • Book lists and links to resources on the web that deepen learning
  • 30 days of email support (Q&A support) from the instructors

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