Agile Reformation


I was inspired by this after reading a comment on that Dark Agile article. Thoughts?


VERY well written, and I whole-heartedly agree with this.

To be honest, the frequency at which I get up in morning and reconsider whether to walk the agile walk has shifted from 1/quarter to 1/week. This coalition is part of the reason I’m still hopeful, but I’m exhausted by trying to explain agile to people who only want different sticks to discipline engineering staff with and Scrum (and SAFE) is their go to answer.

Don’t be surprised if someday soon I put down the banner and just work hard to become “just” a product owner (which would evolve into a different role I’d enjoy in the post-agile world) as I think that is one of the responsibilities that can have the greatest change impact on a team’s ability to succeed.

If @johannarothman loses her tenacity, all hope is lost and I exit stage right. (“why would you scale something that you haven’t gotten working yet?”)


Following up on the the article’s mention of vaccination…

I’m diving into a body of work by Leandro Herrero which at first glance appears to be a powerful way to think about change…

in particular:

Behaviours change culture, not the other way around. The spread of behaviours is the real source of social change. Behavioural imitation explains how social change happens, how epidemics of ideas are formed, how social fashions appear and how company cultures shape and reshape themselves. The spread of behaviours is also viral in nature. In his pioneering book, “Viral Change™”, Leandro Herrero addressed how a relatively small number of highly connected individuals could orchestrate change in an organisation through a small set of non-negotiable behaviours. In his new book, the author now addresses Viral Change™ in action, showing that the more primal ‘Homo Imitans’ is still a powerful force. Understanding how social, behavioural infection works is the basis for the orchestration of any ‘epidemic of success’, be it a successful change inside a firm or a counter-social epidemic to tackle negative socio-macro phenomena. Academia, business consulting and business literature have long differentiated themselves from the macro-social reality. For many years, and still today, it feels as if ‘the nine-to-five’ business life has little to do with ‘the external world’ of social changes. ‘Homo Imitans’ bridges these two artificially separated worlds by explaining how Viral Change™ mechanisms work everywhere: in the spread of violence in streets (and also in how to reverse it), in employee engagement inside the organisation, in the adoption of new behaviours and new company culture - and in how it can go wrong. ‘Homo Imitans’ will appeal to anybody interested in social change, with particular emphasis on how Viral Change™ works inside an organisation. As such, this is a key practitioner’s book for any manager and leader of any organisation, written by the creator of Viral Change™ in the same successful style as his previous books.

more by Herrero:

how a relatively small number of highly connected individuals could orchestrate change in an organisation through a small set of non-negotiable behaviours.


One thing I learned: people want to see decisions.

This makes a relation to the Agile Manifest so difficult. It uses a word, which never got acknowledged by any of the methodologies and frameworks, which followed up on it.

It is the word “over”.

The Agile Manifest does not say “instead”. It does not embrace change. It just says, be mindful.

Anyhow, almost two decades later, we need to acknowledge, that the Agile Manifest has been used to drive change. But this has not been a change, which has been created together. It is a change driven by enthusiasts and ideologists. It did not just leave it with a change of behavior and mindset. It also blamed people for bad behavior.

At a sudden, team managers and project managers found themselves being the bad guys - without being involved at all. What has been working for them for ages, at a sudden is declared as wrong. Their whole reason for being is put on doubt.

Let’s acknowledge, that many of them did a quite good job - until they have been asked to change radically.

From my point of view, Agile would benefit from a top-down approach. It requires decisions, as people are looking for them. Well-balanced decisions, creating simple rules to follow while leaving space for execution.


Another approach that I am exploring: organic agility

While I have difficulty with the word choice “resilience” - maybe “adverse reactions” might be better - the approach is intriguing me… so much so that I just finished up a two day class w Andrea Tomasini.

It was an amazing experience… and there’s so much to explore.

It doesn’t not call thing wrong or right - just “as they are”

And then provides a humanistic approach that embraces and addresses situation, behavior, and culture.

Helps organizations envision a future state, aspirational perhaps, and the provides a scaffolding for evolution.

I’m fascinated by how Andrea and others have brought in Cynefin, sensemaking, biology, organization dynamics, leadership thinking,


Just a thought- how about we exchange the word “behaviour” with “attitude”? Behaviour can be a superficial adjustment to actions based on what is expected whereas attitudes are driven by underlying values…in my experience


Speaking of behavior and where they come from…