Do Agile Methods Contain the Seeds of Their Own Destruction? (Safety and Our Ability to Learn from Failure)

Grand Ballroom - Salon C

Some teams and organizations flourish with agile methods. However, there are teams have never been able to find their stride with agile and either struggle with it painfully or are resigned to the apparent fact that agile is just hype. Unfortunately, most of us are in the second camp. That's ok - it is not our fault - it is a built-in weakness of agile methods.

Great teams leverage agile's ability to help you fail fast and learn quickly. At the same time, *because* using agile creates a huge number of failures, it can easily shut down individuals, teams, and organizations who do not *feel* safe to fail.

Learning from failure is not easy. It does not come natural for everyone. And not all cultures invite failure and learning from failure.

Attend this session to explore this link between safety and success of agile methods. Attend this session to learn how you can do things today to make things better for yourself as an individual. Attend this session to learn how you can start to change the culture of your organization to create a base where agile methods can flourish.

Amr Elssamadisy's picture
Amr Elssamadisy brings together individual human dynamics, environment and cultural engineering, and agile software development practices to produce immediate and lasting results for his clients. With a hands-on approach, and infectious can-do attitude, Amr leverages his years of experience (both success and failure) to hold up a mirror to the organization and then guide and teach his clients to make incremental, measurable improvements.Amr believes that agile software development techniques are a great tool-set, but they are neither necessary nor sufficient when it comes to huge multi-national organizations that build suites of software and have grown both organically and through acquisitions. When it comes to these levels of complexity, meaningful results can only be achieved by introducing effective individual human dynamics skills and changing corporate culture. Skills such as ownership, respect, clarity, and making and honoring agreements are critical to successful teamwork and that type of change can only last within an environment that expects, encourages, and rewards these behaviors. All too often agile adoptions and transformations fail to show results because of the lack of explicit attention on these issues.Amr has been working with small and large teams within organizations to improve their software development methods of work to make significant changes in things that really matter to the organization such as time to market and quality of software. By doing this work with teams and organizations he has been able combine individual human dynamics and culture change in a format that resonates deeply with knowledge workers (many of which consider these skills unimportant and "touchy-feely") to help effect spectacular results that make a lasting impact.Amr is also the author of Agile Adoption Patterns: A Roadmap to Organizational Success and Patterns of Agile Practice Adoption and a frequent speaker at software development conferences.