Module 1 - The Changing Context
A VUCA World

This module investigates the context of a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world which defines the pace and scale of change organizations face, looks specifically at technology and the ‘tech-shift’ which has resulted in a proliferation of tech-centric working methods, highlights the threats facing organizations from disruptors who take advantage of the opportunities arising from change and technological advances to challenge existing markets, and looks at the concept of a delta or ‘threat gap’ and define how an organization can use this to create better value.

Learning Objectives 

The objectives of this course are to provide you with and understanding of:

  • The impact of technology
  • The nature of change in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world
  • The technology shift and tech-centric activities
  • Disruptors – who they are and what they do
  • Identifying and managing the delta
  • The meaning of ‘value’

Intended Audience 

The target audience for the AgileSHIFT qualification is any employee of an organization that intends to adopt AgileSHIFT. This includes people who will become champions of the new working practice and employees from any part of the business who will contribute to the incremental improvements that will make up the wider change the organization requires.


There are no specific prerequisites to study the AgileSHIFT course or for entry to the examination.


We welcome all feedback and suggestions - please contact us at to let us know what you think.


Everything changes  

Before we start, let’s think about some of the changes we’ve seen in the last 20 years. 


It’s almost impossible to know where to start, isn’t it? The list is endless. 


Technology has taken us places we never thought we’d go – like Mars – as well as connecting all four corners of the globe, raising a generation of bloggers and social media celebrities, and revolutionizing how we communicate and do business. Globalization has certainly made the world a much smaller place, we’ve got a gadget for everything, and we’re more environmentally and culturally aware and more diverse than ever before. And all of this has led to a complete rethink of how we purchase and use things. 


It feels like we’ve left the industrial age and moved into the network age – or even the social age. 


The environment we live in means that organizations face dynamic, diverse and often conflicting drivers for change – like technological innovations; different ways of working; tougher regulations; and the changing political landscape which all affect the ‘rules’ we operate by. 


The pace of change is faster than ever. This is exciting but it also creates new challenges for organizations who might not know how to respond.  


Many large organizations who want stability and avoid business risk have been significantly disrupted, and this has led to some high-profile failures – like Woolworths, Toys R Us and Blockbuster video – organizations who haven’t been willing or able to change quickly enough. 


Expect the unexpected 

We live in a dynamic and fast-changing world which is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – or VUCA. 


  • Volatility reflects the nature, speed and dynamics of the changes that organizations face – they’re much more frequent and significant than they were before; 


  • Uncertainty is about the unpredictable nature of change which leads to lack of understanding of the issues and outcomes. Anything that was certain before is probably not now; 


  • Complexity can cause confusion, and relates to the intricate and complex challenges facing organizations; and  


  • Ambiguity comes from complexity and lack of clarity, and can affect an organization’s view of reality – which isn’t helped by things like ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ 


What VUCA really means is that organizations must be aware of the changing world and be prepared for the unexpected to survive. If they understand this and can continually transform themselves through clear strategic direction, effective leadership and enterprise agility, they’re more likely to be successful.  


And that’s what AgileSHIFT is about – enabling you, your teams and your organization to survive, grow and prosper in a VUCA world. 


Before you move on, why not try the Exploring VUCA reflective activity to help you think about what VUCA means to your organization. 


About the Author
Learning Paths

Tony has over 20 years’ experience in Business Development, Business Change, Consulting, and Project/Program Management working with public, private, and third sector organizations.

He has helped organizations to design and create processes and procedures to align ways of working with corporate strategy. A highly motivated and detailed solution provider, utilizing a wide range of methods and frameworks to provide structure whilst promoting creativity and innovation.

As a confident and self-motivated professional with excellent communication skills, Tony is able to bring people together and get them working as a team quickly.

Tony is an Agile and Scrum trainer with a vast knowledge spanning IT Systems, Business Change, Program and Project Management. With excellent presentation skills and a solid background, he ensures that all clients gain maximum benefit from his training. He has successfully guided those new to the industry through their initial training, helped experienced staff as they progress in their careers, and worked at the director level advising on best use and practice, as well as tailoring courses to fulfil the exact needs of clients.