VUCA in Web Development

VUCA is an acronym that stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, a combination of qualities that either confound decisions or sharpen the capacity to look ahead, plan ahead and move ahead.

This is a common term used to define different factors which we encounter in day-to-day life. It is highly used to relate business goals as well as personal goals in real time world. It also helps one to analyse and evaluate different scenarios to guide leadership and strategy planning.An awareness of the forces represented in the VUCA model and strategies to mitigate the harm they might cause are integral to crisis management and disaster recovery planning.

Lets now understand each factors of VUCA:

– Volatility: The nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.

– Uncertainty: The lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.

– Complexity. The multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues, no cause-and-effect chain and confusion that surrounds organization or individual.

– Ambiguity. The haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion.


How can we relate this to web development?

– Technology with which one works not necessarily be same for different classes of user’s product. Also technology evolves in itself to such a level that same product can be obtained with different speed , security and accessibility. The challenge is unexpected or unstable and may be of unknown duration , but its not necessarily hard to understand.

– Sometimes as a developer, client’s end product may not be clear but still one has to estimate and provide a time frame. It’s very uncertain on how much time a project may take.

– When you actually start the development process , that is the time you realise the complexity of the uncertain things which involves interconnectivity and interdependence of multiple components in a system.

– In the cases when requirements are conveyed to the developer , developer tends to assume few things as per relevant information he/she already possesses that could lead to untrue conclusions or mis-interpretation.


Who is best suited for success in a VUCA environment?

– As a developer who are flexible, who are open to change and thrive on new experiences. Its called as agile learning. Because demands on us are changing every day, the behaviors that carried us through yesterday are not necessarily what will help us tomorrow. This means those individuals who are quick to learning from experience and move forward with new ideas will be better prepared to succeed in tomorrow’s world.


What is learning agility?

– Research at Columbia University suggest following behavior patterns:

Flexibility – Willingness to try new things;

Speed – Rapidly grasping new ideas;

Experimenting – Testing out new ideas;

Performance Risk Taking – Taking on challenges;

Interpersonal Risk Taking – Asking others for help;

Collaborating – Leveraging the skills of others;

Information Gathering – Increasing your knowledge;

Feedback Seeking – Asking for feedback; and

Reflecting – Taking time to reflect on your effectiveness.


Why is learning agility so critical to thriving in a VUCA environment?

– In a VUCA world learning agile individuals are better equipped to be successful.  They are open to learning from experience. They can quickly recognize better ways to get things accomplished. If we hold on to the way we always do things – stay in our comfort zones – we cease to grow intellectually and behaviorally.

Siddhesh Shirodkar
SJ Innovation LLC
Where employee happiness generates client success.
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