The Delta
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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.


Mind the gap 

Delta is an important concept in AgileSHIFT. 


As we’ve seen, organizations face threats from new technologies and disruptors, which can lead to a gap between where they currently are in terms of their capability, market position and offer, and where they need to be – their target state.  


This ‘threat gap’ is known as the delta.  


An organization can understand its delta by working out: 

  • Where it is now? 

  • Where it wants to be or could be? 

  • Where its competition is, or is moving towards? 

  • What their customer’s expectations are? 

  • How it can transform from its current position to being better or the best it can be?  

  • How it can align its strategic goals with the future defined state? 


The target state means defining ‘what great looks like’. This is an abstract concept – not a targeted operational model or a defined level of financial performance – and could relate to aspects of an individual’s role, team or department performance, the tools they use or even the organization as a whole.   


For example, a logistics company thinking about their ‘track and trace’ process might look to an organization in a similar market to understand what ‘great track and trace looks like’. A lot of logistics operators use Domino’s pizza as the model of ‘what great looks like’. 


The bigger the delta between ‘what great looks like’ and the current state, the more exposed the organization is to disruption from innovation, and new products and services. Quite simply – the bigger the delta; the bigger the threat.  


For an organization to remain competitive, it must recognize there is a delta, know what it is and understand how big it is. Then it needs to take action to narrow the gap. But one-off, isolated changes won’t help them in the long run. The environment is changing all the time and the desired target state is moving all the time – survival means moving with it.  


So, here’s the dilemma. Many well-established organizations are still around because they’ve kept themselves safe – they’ve built processes, bureaucracy and decision-making loops to make sure that ideas which might fail are caught early. The irony is that, what’s kept them safe for so long, might now actually drag them into failure.  


Organizations that aren’t risk-adverse and understand that failure helps them to grow are more likely to be successful.  


Take Richard Branson for example. He dropped out of school at 16 and is now said to be worth around $5billion. His companies have always taken risks – from his first publishing company that didn’t make money to the failure of Virgin Cars. But he’s always had a clear direction and always innovated, so he’s become stronger and extremely successful. 


But it’s not all ‘gloom and doom’. Organizations don’t necessarily need to change what they do overnight, and start-ups aren’t really the model of how to work or behave. Legacy organizations have significant advantages like experience, reputation, a strong brand and expertise. But they do need to consider how decisions can be made quicker, how they can be more effective, and how they can challenge the status quo by questioning what’s been done before and improving on it.       


Defining value 

Another important concept when thinking about the delta is value.  


For an organization to understand value they need to know: 

  • The value their best competitors are creating; 

  • What the best organizations for value creation are doing; and 

  • What value would be created if they worked in the best possible way with the best tools and processes. 


The answers to these questions will tell them what the best possible value performance level could be – or ‘what great could look like’. They then can look at large transformation programmes or smaller change initiatives to narrow the delta. 


Before you move on, why not try The Delta reflective activity to help you think about the threats to your organization. 


You’ll also find a useful case study in the Making it Real guide. 

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.