Building Solutions to Complex Problems for Black Agilists

Added to The Alliance

We wrapped up our designathon, by again continuing addressing those complex problems, with real solutions to grow racial equity for black lives in the Agile community.

Groups formed where they poured their heart into developing solutions that they hoped to have a real impact, ushering in a new journey, globally for black Agilists.

We saw things around how people can act individually to grow racial equity. We saw how they could show up and provide opportunity, as well as initiatives, that have the potential to scale positive change. Among the suggestions were…

Complex Problem: How can we create more Black representation in Agile (thought) leadership?

Experiment: Building an Black/Indigenous POC Agilist collective for coaching, mentoring, etc.

Complex Problem: “How can we say we value diversity if we can’t articulate why we value it?” 

Experiment: An initiative sponsored by the Agile Alliance to reach out to the framework & mindset providers to evolve & link agility & diversity. Create a set of heuristics and go out to help make frameworks diverse & inclusive.

Complex Problem: “How can we expose unconscious bias in others and myself so they don’t keep racial inequities alive?”

Experiment: When you make a very quick decision about something or someone, before saying anything or sending a message, stop and review why/how you made that decision.

Complex Problem: “There are some success stories out there. How can people whose teams / companies have been able to build an inclusive, diverse team(s) share those experiences to help others do the same?”

Experiment: A new initiative that allows for small group conversations.  Look for patterns (supportive or challenging) from the stories.  Look for possible actions to take.

Complex Problem: “How can we improve mentorship opportunities for people of color in the Agile space?”


  • Safety is very important in African American communities – so building safety would be the first step
  • Approach Nonprofits to discuss how to assist with training people who have limited means and are looking to get back into the workplace

Complex Problem:How might we evolve the recruiting / interviewing process to attract BIPOC?”

Experiment: Agile Alliance create a group that supports BIPOC to support Agilist

Some complex problems were discussed in depth and didn’t get as far as capturing solutions, however, the teams were able to talk through and share some of the insights in closing with numerous personal intentions. We can all reflect on these ourselves to take away our own intentions….

Complex Problem: Using our privilege for good, not evil:  how white people can create an atmosphere that allows African Americans to show up as their authentic selves.

Complex Problem: How is it that you can focus hard on one kind of (in)equity and simultaneously miss so many other kinds of (in)equity (e.g. Women in Agile have all white organizers)

These were just some of the highlights and we invite you all to review the Jamboards to see the rich collection of ideas in each area and take inspiration for your own endeavours.

While the designathon has concluded, the journey to see those solutions through, continues. Some will be individual actions. Some will spur initiatives and similar ones will likely converge. The initiatives are member driven so the next steps will be driven by you. We are hopeful that all those involved build upon their ideas and prototypes to test them in the real world and share their outcomes.

We encourage you to share the journey by tagging AgileAlliance on LinkedIn and/or Twitter  using #GrowingEquityAgile.

As we move to the retrospective of this series, we are truly inspired by the emotional investment and time given by everyone who participated. Register to join us and share your feedback on Friday, August 28th.

April Jefferson & Antony Marcano

About the Authors

April leads with empathy and courage while partnering with others to help unlock their full potential. Believes the path to authentic growth and change begins with invitation and a people centered approach. She favors a blended mindset of agile, lean, design thinking, open space and improvisation when engaging. April values connecting people to ownership of their needs and goals. You may find April coaching organizations, speaking at conferences, facilitating social change as a Design Action Lab partner, or mentoring youth.

This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They do not represent opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.

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