Agile is a Dirty Word

You arrive with a mandate to transform and you find chaos. They think they are “doing Agile” but “it doesn’t work here”. They’ve “tried Kanban” and now they are in the middle of a “Scrum reset”. How do you persuade a whole organisation to embrace Agile when they already think Agile is a Dirty Word?

In my 4 years of being a ThoughtWorker I’ve experienced organisations in many different parts of the journey to delivering constant and consistent value. The most interesting places are those where they think they have tried everything and it hasn’t worked for them. Why did it not work for them? How did they get into the state they are in and, most importantly, how did we manage to demonstrate that Agile need not be a dirty word?

Main language English Proposal
Audience level Beginner & novice
Type of presentation Slides only

James Birnie


James has worked in software delivery since the 1990s when TDD was something you studied but never did, pipelines were for carrying oil and Agile and Lean were words you used to describe athletes. James worked in a startup for 9 years where he learnt about Agile transformations and breaking up the monolith the hard way, through bitter experience. In 2015 he started a new life as a ToughtWorks consultant and now finds himself disappointed, shocked and delighted in almost equal measure every day.

Blog https://www.jamesbirnie.com
Company ThoughtWorks
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