Project Management

Are you living in a VUCA world?

From the The Lazy Project Manager Blog
Peter Taylor is the author of two best-selling books on ‘Productive Laziness’ – ‘The Lazy Winner’ and ‘The Lazy Project Manager’. In the last 4 years he has focused on writing and lecturing with over 200 presentations around the world in over 25 countries and has been described as ‘perhaps the most entertaining and inspiring speaker in the project management world today’. His mission is to teach as many people as possible that it is achievable to ‘work smarter and not harder’ and to still gain success in the battle of the work/life balance. More information can be found at – and through his free podcasts in iTunes.

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Do you recognise this?

Is your business life ‘Volatile – Uncertain – Complex – Ambiguous’?

Well don’t panic, you are certainly not alone, but you should accept that you are part the ‘VUCA’ world today!

VUCA is an acronym originally used by the American Military. It was the response of the US Army War College to the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s when, suddenly, there was no longer the only enemy, resulting in a need for new ways of seeing and reacting.

VUCA is now regularly used in business circles to recognize the increasingly dynamic and fast-paced business world we live in today. The challenges that VUCA represent are obvious in a world where businesses must react quickly and have the ability to change direction based on fact not fiction.

Volatility refers to the speed of change in your business, sector, industry, location, etc.

  • It is associated with demand variables and market fluctuations and drives businesses to faster changes.

Uncertainty is about knowing what the future might look like.

  • It is associated with the inability to understand what is going on despite any amount of data that has been collected in the past, and this becomes a self-accelerating reality with uncertainty building on uncertainty.

Complexity refers to the number of factors that need to be taken into consideration when making decisions or plans.

  • The more complex the world is, the harder it is to try and understand all aspects and their interrelationship with each other.

Ambiguity refers to a lack of clarity about how to interpret something.

  • When there is a lack of clarity in knowledge points and often conflicting possible meanings then translating this into meaningful information can be impossible.

In practice, the four terms are both related and fed each other to make for an ever increasing VUCA existence for your business.

If it is complex and volatile, then the harder it is to predict and the more uncertain it will be.

Business Agile is the solution

The key is to not live with the ‘fear’ of VUCA but address the challenges it offers and consider ‘solutions’ that can progress your business to a different landscape.

VUCA can be a good thing, a positive thing if you approach it the right way. It can be used as a catalyst to bringing change in your day-to-day world and to progress your business to a new status:

From: Volatile To: Stable

From: Uncertainty To: Certainty

From: Complexity To: Simplicity

From: Ambiguity To: Clarity

A ‘Business Agile’ mind-set will help bring stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your role and to your business, and technology can help you overcome the challenges in a VUCA world to aid this transition. It is possible to Un-VUCA the VUCA world.

Your Journey to Business Agility

Organisations are waking up to the fact that they need to adapt today so they can compete in a fast, ever changing environment. But, as Darwin said, success comes to those who are not the strongest, but the most responsive to change.

Hiding your head in the sand whilst the VUCA world surrounds you will not help but taking action to become Business Agile will.

Bill George, a senior fellow at Harvard Business School, puts the argument forward that VUCA demands a new leadership response which he calls VUCA 2.0: Vision, Understanding, Courage and Adaptability.

These are the basic foundations of a Business Agile world.


Join myself and Neil Derbyshire from Clarizen on the morning of 5th December where we will address the 4 main challenges of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) and how working in a business agile mind-set can bring the rewards of stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your day-to-day work.

Join this free webinar to learn first-hand how:

  1. VUCA can be used as a catalyst to bringing change in your day-to-day world
  2. How a business agile mind-set will help bring stability, certainty, simplicity and clarity to your role
  3. How technology can help you overcome challenges in a VUCA world
  4. What can businesses do today to prepare for challenges in the future

Register your interest today to avoid VUCA now and in the future!

Let’s Un-VUCA the VUCA world!


Peter Taylor is a change expert who has advised many other organisations on Change and Project strategy.

He is also the author of the number 1 bestselling project management book ‘The Lazy Project Manager’.

More information can be found at

Posted on: November 13, 2019 05:05 AM | Permalink

Comments (9)

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Dear Peter
Interesting this topic about VUCA World
Thanks for sharing
Tip: Webinar here at

This is very interesting perspective.
Thanks for sharing

So VUCA to un-VUCA is moving an organisation from:
a. exciting to boring, or
b. struggling to achieving and/or
c. exhausting/demotivating to exciting/envigorating?

Thanks Peter. It is an interesting concept I'd not come across before. I'm definitely going to keep it in mind (and options b and c would be my goals). I was being somewhat tongue-in-cheek with my 3 options (but some people do seem to thrive on excitement to the detriment of actually achieving and to the other people around them).

VUCA describes many company environments. Thank you for sharing. I am trying to un-VUCA everything in my personal sphere of influence!

Thanks for the information Peter.

Insightful ...thank you!

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