It’s not too late: Agile as a Springboard for Antifragility

Agile practices and frameworks have now been around for the same amount of time (25 years) that the Waterfall approach had been when XP and Scrum were first formalized. It is high time to shine a critical light and ask ourselves just how much real progress has been achieved in terms of increased productivity. This session takes a hard look at the documented results of following prescriptive frameworks and asks a crucial question: have we reached the point where semantic diffusion has rendered the term "agile" obsolete and if so, what could we do about it? We believe that one viable option consists in moving towards an Antifragile stance (as first described in the work of Nassim Nicholas Taleb). The presentation outlines what, exactly, constitutes an "Antifragile stance" and offers actionable, real-world advice on how organizations can move beyond agile in order to position themselves to benefit, rather than suffer from, volatility and disruption. The intent of this presentation is not to bash nor belittle any aspect nor members of the agile community, but rather seeks to plant a seed of healthy critical thinking. As the title suggests, we believe that despite the doubts and misgivings that are currently cropping up in the Agile community, it is not too late to leverage the agile mindset and lessons learned of the past 25 years as a springboard for a higher order of thinking.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

  1. A Brief History Lesson
  2. 2019 – the Transformation Bandwagon
  3. “Beyond” Agile?
  4. A Higher Order of Thinking
  5. Conclusion – the Antifragile Stance

Learning Outcome

  • How, at the age of 25, agile is beset by semantic diffusion
  • How framework-driven imposed transformations fail and why
  • Why the time has come to use agile as a springboard for a higher order of thinking
  • Why it is time to embrace an antifragile stance – to learn to thrive on disorder and disruption

Target Audience

Thought leaders, executives, practitioners, coaches, project managers, scrum masters

Prerequisites for Attendees

A willingness to remain open-minded will suffice

schedule Submitted 8 months ago

Public Feedback

comment Suggest improvements to the Speaker
  • Christen McLemore
    By Christen McLemore  ~  8 months ago
    reply Reply

    I like these aspects of the submission, and they should be retained:

    • great position and evidence in the slides

    I think the submission could be improved by:

    • Lot of slides to cover in only 60 mins (98 slides) so you'll need to trim out some
    • Looking at the slides, it's not clear what the actionable steps are and how they would be applied. It seems to be more abstract and may not create action from attendees.
    • Daniel Gagnon
      By Daniel Gagnon  ~  7 months ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Christen. A new, renamed and pared down version of the deck has been uploaded to Slideshare (72 rather than the original 98). Learning Outcomes addressed explicitly in a slide at the beginning. The graphic on slide 53 (and repeated on 71) will provide the backdrop for a discussion of the general steps involved in moving towards the antifragile organization.

    • Daniel Gagnon
      By Daniel Gagnon  ~  8 months ago
      reply Reply

      Thank You for the feedback Christen. We will indeed be trimming down the number of slides. I managed to pack them all into about 55 minutes in Montreal but there were some very breathless (literally) patches so this is good advice. As for the actionable steps - the spoken narrative around the last sections helps in weaving that into an actionable takeaway - the message is basically, take your destiny into your own hands, escape method prison, and use lean change, engagement models etc. But you are correct in that there is nevertheless some tightening and tweaking to do on the actual slides in order to tie that message up.