Abstract/Description

In agile, we have broad ambitions with no defining principles. We often talk about agile teams, people, departments, organizations and political campaigns, as if the definition of “agile” was obvious. And yet the Agile Manifesto and its principles were written for software development teams. Furthermore, many CEOs tell us how agile they are, because “we can move teams around on a whim” or because “we run sprints every week,” but their teams can’t produce working products rapidly, increasingly add technical debt, or shamble into work demoralized. Until we frame agile concepts around more general principles and modern psychological and system science research, our best advice will remain marginalized as the dreams of “software zealots.”

This workshop introduces five Agile Base Patterns in the Agile Canon that seem universal or implied across specialized agile methodologies like Scrum, XP, SAFe, Lean/Kanban, GTD, PDSA/PDCA, Quantified Self and Pomodoro. Agile entities …

* Measure Economic Progress,
* Adaptively Experiment for Improvement,
* Limit Work in Progress,
* Embrace Collective Responsibility, and
* Solve Problems Systemically.

We believe all agile practices fit neatly into these Agile Base Patterns, and waterfall violates every one. We’ll explore these base patterns and some interesting sub-patterns, such as *Feedback Loop*, *Backlog*, *Chunking*, *Root Cause Mapping* and *Information Radiator*. Leaders at all levels need a deep understanding of agility to provide effective coaching to Agile teams and protect agility from hostile forces. Leaders can easily apply these scale-free patterns to marketing, finance, business development, sales, military combat, corporate governance, strategic projects, personal projects, and, you guessed it, software development.

As an exercise, we will consider random questions from agile user groups, and whether these leadership patterns help answer the questions. We’ll brainstorm lower-level patterns, perhaps contradict or add to the base patterns. We’ll talk about some of the nuances that the fundamentals reveal. For example, did you know there are four types of learning feedback, and one common used form of feedback leads to lower performance?

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