Rewiring "Agile" Identity: Overcoming Tribal Fragility in the Agile Community

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development was written by a group of people who came together to think together and record their thinking in a document to share with the world. There is no doubt that the Agile Manifesto has had a profound impact on the way many people think about work and life. It has shaped the world of work in countless ways. Easy, then, it would be for us to treat it as an immutable sacred text. Indeed, there are many examples of how fragile, cultish and highly-cohesive social groups vociferously defend the immutability of their founding ideas, manifestos and mission statements. The upholding of the transcendent status of their charismatic tribal leaders who provide rallying cries from the pulpit is vigorously pursued.

This is all understandable and in many ways predictable. Identity is such a powerful human need that people will go to any length to preserve it. So we need not regard such fragility as a failing of human character, something to mock or scorn. However, identity can be blind, and in most cases has its blind spots. In order for identity to maintain grounding in reality, the thinking behind identity needs to be explored and understood more deeply.

In this 90-minute session, participants will have the opportunity to think together--as the authors of the Manifesto did--in a safe and collaborative environment. Content gleaned from contributors to the discourse such as Senge, Schon, Bohm, Deming, Immelman and Taleb will help to guide and anchor the conversation.

The goal of the seminar is not to rewrite the Agile Manifesto. Rather, it is an opportunity to better understand, together, what it means to be "Agile", an "Agilist", to potentially discover some new thoughts and ways of thinking about agility and to offer a humble contribution to the broader discourse for the betterment of all and towards the greater resilience of the community as a whole.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

  • Open Dialogue
    • What are you thinking about?
    • What are you working on?
    • What do you want to talk about?
  • Introduction of Content (specific content selected based on where the Open Dialogue takes us)
    • Senge
    • Schon
    • Deming
    • Bohm
    • Immelman
    • Taleb
  • How does this content inform our thinking?
  • What insights does the content provide in light of our own experience and context?
  • How can we help others to think about these ideas?
  • Who can we bring into a discourse around these ideas?
  • What actions can we undertake in order to test the validity of these ideas in our own context?
  • What will be different when we leave this seminar?

Learning Outcome

  • Thinking deeply in a group about profound and important concepts and questions;
  • Double-loop learning: examining beliefs, preconceived notions and assumptions about reality and adapting them towards clearer, more rational and more realistic thought (i.e. "letting go");
  • Struggling together and supporting one another through the necessary discomfort of the process;
  • Learning to engage and trust in a profound learning process.

Target Audience

People who want to think with other people.

Prerequisites for Attendees

Try to set aside preconceived notions and prejudices.

schedule Submitted 5 years ago