"Being" Agile or Doing Agile ? Ontological Perspective

The key element for successful agile adoption is “being” agile and not just “doing” agile. If you are using Scrum then it is not just about standups, sprints, demo and retrospectives.  Then what is this “being” agile?

Ontology is a branch of philosophy, dealing with study of the nature of being. Currently ontology based concepts are used in professional coaching and leadership development work.  (Harvard Professor Dr. Michael C. Jensen (his initiative EJI) , Prof Dave Logan of UCS author of Three Laws of Performance, have done significant research and contribution to this field).

The intention of the workshop is to give the participants a glimpse of “being” as an experience.  It is important to understand and know the difference between “doing” and “being”, since in any agile implementation “being agile” is more important than doing agile. If this distinction is not made very clear then all the agile practices will face the risk of ending up like rituals without significant outcomes.

During the sessions one key exercise is to identify the subtle differences in actions taken (doing), results obtained (having) and the experience (being). The importance that the language plays in differentiating the experience is also discussed.  After the session you will start discovering (by observation) the world of being and the world of doing and their overlap.



Outline/Structure of the Workshop

Mins        Topics

0-15         Intro and Foundation

16-30       Ontology + Activity 1

31-45       Being Agile + Activity 2

45-60       Being Agile and Agile Mindset (Practices)

61-75       Activity 3 (Reflection/refinement)

76-85       Structures/practices for "being" agile

85-90      Clousre


Learning Outcome

 - Develop an ability to observe 'being' and 'doing'

- Develop an 'Agile Mindset'

Target Audience

Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters and Dev teams using agile methods


schedule Submitted 6 years ago

  • Jutta Eckstein

    Jutta Eckstein / John Buck - With Sociocracy, Hierarchy Becomes Agile

    90 Mins

    Many agile teams suffer from the mismatch of agile and organizational leadership, with the latter being reflected by the organizational hierarchy. Based on self-organization and iterative processes, the agile teams run into trouble with the top-down steering of their environment. Consequently, agile proponents very often believe that a supportive agile organization should be structured without hierarchies, the so called “no managers” approach of “reinvented organizations.” Several companies in the agile field are experimenting with different organizational approaches that don’t use hierarchies. Yet, “no hierarchy” or “no managers” is not an option for many organizations.

    In this session we suggest using sociocracy as a solution that leaves the hierarchies in place in an agile way - an option the organization is free to choose. Sociocracy shows how hierarchies can actually be agile and can strongly support (rather than opposing) agile philosophy. It enables managers to become agile leaders. As a participant you will learn how the principles of shared decision making and double-linking are key to enabling self-organization. These principles convert hierarchies from linear to circular so that they support an agile mindset.

    Sociocracy is a way for groups and organizations to self-organize. Based on four principles (self-organizing teams, shared decision making based on consent, double-linking, and electing people by consent to functions and tasks), sociocracy provides a path for existing organizations to have empowerment and self-responsibility on all levels. Different than comparable methods, sociocracy allows companies to start where they are – with their existing organizational structures and the like. It seems to be a perfect fit for organizations that need to be truly agile (due to market pressure) beyond their IT departments and software teams.