Hold on… what do you mean when you say business capability?

capabilities enable an organization to understand the options available for moving their boat in the desired direction

This term is one that I spend a lot of time defining and discussing with the teams that I coach.  Its interesting how it can become overloaded to represent various “things”.  Why is it that I spend a lot of time discussing this term?  As you may have seen in previous posts, most businesses engage with me as an enterprise agile coach because they find their current structure and processes make it hard for them to “turn the ship” quickly so that they can take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace.

A key part of making this happen comes down to understanding what are the underlying pieces and parts of the business that it can leverage when trying to quickly turn the ship.  These are what I broadly refer to as the business’ underlying capabilities.   To better define my intended definition of the term, I’d like to leverage the definition below as expressed by Ulrich Kalex in his paper on Business Capability Management:

A business capability defines the organization’s capacity to successfully perform a unique business activity. Capabilities:
– are the building blocks of the business
– represent stable business functions
– are unique and independent from each other
– are abstracted from the organizational model
– capture the business’ interests


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