"Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes." - Desmond Tutu

The agile community has evolved into a group of highly enthusiastic proponents who bring a high level of excitement to everything they say and do. Agilists speak a strange sort of insider jargon in which plain English words have very unusual, and often counterintuitive meanings.

They may describe your multi-billion-dollar enterprise as "dysfunctional" and on the verge of "failure." They may suggest your teams "sprint" to get work done, and yet do so at a "sustainable pace." They may tell your management that agile helps teams "go faster" while assuring your teams that agile isn't about "going faster." They may insist that agile is more about culture and mindset than about practices, and then measure your progress in terms of how faithfully you follow a prescribed set of practices.

There are many more examples of this odd insider jargon, starting with the seminal buzzword itself, "agile." Over the years, the way agilists speak has confused and turned off many who might otherwise have benefited from applying agile values and principles. The presenter will share several stories of the unintended effects of agile-speak, and will invite you to share your own tales of woe and amusement.

 

 
 

Outline/structure of the Session

Part 1: Speaker shares experiences when agile-speak created misunderstanding or confusion.

Part 2: Participants share experiences when agile-speak created misunderstanding or confusion.

Part 3: Participants and speaker brainstorm alternative ways of describing "agile things" that might convey the intended meaning more effectively than conventional agile jargon.

Note: This isn't a rehash of Bob Galen or Adam Weisbart. This is stuff good coaches say, with the best of intentions.

Learning Outcome

1. An invitation to reconsider the words we use based on the way normal people actually understand English.

2. Possibly, a way of reflecting on past experiences through a different lens than we may have used before.

3. Possibly, some different ways of expressing agile ideas that might be easier for normal people to understand.

4. A bit of a laugh, at least.

Target Audience

Agile coaches and their victims

Requirements

Flipchart or whiteboard.

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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