How Agile Software Teams Can Optimize Their Way of Working (WoW)
We like to say that agile teams own their own process by choosing their way of working, their “WoW.” This of course is easier said than done because there are several aspects to WoW. First, our team needs to know how to choose the appropriate lifecycle for the situation that we face. Should we take a Scrum-based approach, a lean/Kanban-based approach, a continuous delivery approach, or an exploratory/lean startup approach? Second, what practices should the team adopt? How do they fit together? When should we apply them? Third, what artifacts should the team create? When should they be created? To what level of detail? Finally, how do we evolve our WoW as we experiment and learn?

There are several strategies that we could choose to follow when we tailor and evolve our WoW. One approach is to bootstrap our WoW, to figure it out on our own. This works, but it is a very slow and expensive strategy in practice. Another approach is to hire an agile coach, but sadly in practice the majority of coaches seem to be like professors who are only a chapter or two ahead of their students. Or we could take a more disciplined, streamlined approach and leverage the experiences of the thousands of teams who have already struggled through the very issues that our team currently faces. In this talk, you’ll discover how to develop your WoW without starting from scratch and without having to rely on the limited experience and knowledge of “agile coaches.”
Scott Ambler, Founder and practice leader of the Agile Modeling method, Agile Data (AD) method, and the Disciplined Agile (DA) framework. He is a primary member of the Board of Advisors at Scalefree. He has been keynote speaker at various international conferences. He is (co-)author of several books, including An Executive’s Guide to Disciplined Agile, Disciplined Agile Delivery, Refactoring Databases, Agile Modeling, and The Elements of UML 2.0 Style.



The Viable System Model (VSM) as a foundation for understanding and designing organisations that are agile, and measuring organisational agility.

VSM was developed as a model that encapsulates the invariant laws of what any organisational system needs to be capable of changing itself to fit fast changing environments and this necessarily incorporates both the need for agility and the underlying structural requirements for organisational agility. The approach has proven itself to be applicable across sectors and domains and in organisations of all types and sizes. There is a 71% correspondence between the criteria for viability laid down in VSM and the capacity of organisations to avoid or survive crisis – in other words, organisation with VSM characteristics are more agile.
Based partly on VSM we have developed a set of metrics for measuring organisational agility. This covers four main areas of agility and how these relate to one another. These agility metrics can be used as a diagnostic – to determine where to intervene to improve overall agility – and as a design tool to see whether organisation designs have the agility that is requisite for their business environment.

Patrick Hoverstadt, who is the Director and Management Consultant at Fractal Consulting.He has developed a set of methodologies that provide different approaches for: organisational change, performance management, strategic risk, strategy, partnership governance and organisational agility.



An open dialogue between three interrelated communities (Agile, Agility, and Requisite Organization) for the express purpose of advancing developments in each and for establishing the basic tenets of a new integrated systems theory – Requisite Agility.

Dr. Stephen D. Clement is co-author of It’s All About Work, Organizing Your Company To Get Work Done and is the founder and president of Organizational Design Inc. Dr. Clement provides his expertise to the Fortune 500 organization. With more than 50 years of experience in leadership and management, in both government and corporate arenas, Dr. Clement provides a unique and time-tested vision as to how an organization should be structured around the work. He was partners with Elliot Jaques and also co-authored a book with him.

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This dissertation describes in our experience how to build organizations -team of teams- as agile innovation ecosystems (specially in financial field). Those are self-organized environments where the leaders give the power of responsibility (alignment) to people for being autonomous and accountable of their tactical & operative systems. We think that the more positive and responsible experience our collaborators have at work, the greater impact and coverage for the client and for the business will be achieved; this is the size of the prosperity generated (This is a fundamental part of the accountability game through the experiences we are going to share).

Miguel A.G. Martínez has committed himself to achieve an Information and Knowledge Society among trenches such as government, profit, nonprofit organizations, based on the idea of giving the power of information to the people who create that system, in order to take better decisions that transform and create a positive impact all around.

Since 2007, Miguel has been training agile practice to several organizations in the fields of information society, education and financial (insurers and banks), leaders and teams to create an holistic agility (asynchronous and non-linear) to achieve a positive impact on the core value.
Nowadays, Miguel works in Kairos Digital Solutions a leading global company in implementing agile digital transformation, with offices in Spain, Mexico, UK, Peru, with a focus on diagnostic studies of agility, product management and development of organizational models that leverage and sustain change.

Miguel A.G. Martínez trained early on computer science, Internet information systems, systems thinking, cybernetics, agile management and organizational development. For more than 15 years he devoted himself to the conceptualization and creation of killer-apps, to make simpler the understanding of complex information for decision making, coaching and training organic cells in software engineering, conceptualization and construction guided by prototypes, management of agile business projects.

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In software every job has these three essential elements: learning, planning, and delivering. These are simply different views of the same fundamental processes of *combining* and *comparing*.

I propose that structuring our models using a combine and compare paradigm allows us to create an unlimited vocabulary of artifacts for work and life.

Most people work at the pleasure of an audience, and need to fathom what their stakeholder’s value so they can select the criteria across which to balance their outcomes. Modeling the customer’s current reality and desired reality as combinations of combinations of abstractions with distinct but comparable attributes allows us to see these criteria clearly.

We can test our learning of the customer’s problem space and desired outcomes by slotting the distinct elements into a syntactic matrix and seeing if it makes sense.

We can make a plan if we determine the relative time it will take to create the new reality by noting the dimensionality of the problem space in play for various outcomes we want to effect: navigating spaces of greater complexity requires both greater cognitive capacity and more time to traverse the nodes and edges in the map.

And we can know when we are done when we understand how our outcomes meet the “good enough” bar across all the criteria of value to all our stakeholders.

These three fundamental acts of work arise from a single construction: the skein of maps of reality that overlay each other in the collective minds of the team.

I would like to discuss the construction of these maps, methods of transforming them into various useful artifacts, how to use them to translate patterns of analogous processes between domains, and the extent to which each person’s cognitive capacity affects the degree of complexity they are able to absorb and to navigate.

Geordie Keitt, A Quality-driven leader with 14+ years’ experience in leading cross-functional teams in software development processes. Expertise includes QA management, strategy, automation, and delivery. Especially skilled at test driven development, business analysis, functional testing and test automation. Proven track record of using innovative approaches to improve operational alpha and product quality. He is the Director Technical Solutions at EPAM Systems.



Those attending this event come from two very different paradigms, two different ways of understanding good organization design. That difference is what brings the richness we hope to gain from meeting each other. But we all tend to be subject to our own paradigms, so that difference is likely to make collaboration difficult. To optimally learn from each other, we must be prepared to unlearn some of what we previously came to believe, and that is hard work cognitively and emotionally. I will elaborate on the importance and the difficulties of good dialogue across paradigms and make a few suggestions as to how each of us might help bridge the gap.

Herb Koplowitz has a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Massachusetts and a BA in math and philosophy from Cornell University. He has been a Requisite Organization consultant since 1991, but his real loves are epistemology and philosophy of science.

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“I would like to share two recent cases in weaving the requisite approach in their self-organization journey. The starting point is the observation that the nature of work is shifting in Industry 4.0 contexts, with a very different balance between hierarchy and (different levels of) self-organization. Teams operate across work levels. Only 20 % of the – agile, spotify, sociocratic, holocratic, LiquidO, teal, cybernetic organized – teams really succeed in delivering the expected value-add.

The two cases highlight the limitations organizations bump into on their journey towards self-organization. Recent insights from constructive developmental psychology help understand the upwardly and downwardly divided dynamics in three types of conversation spaces: the continuous improvement space, the rethinking value streams and operational flows space, and the reimagining business model and portfolio space. Agile takes a different shape in each of these three spaces.

I will start with a mind opening session (40min), followed by a 20 min structured dialogue on revisiting E. Jaques notion of strata and how teams contributing across strata can develop qualitative conversations taking into account the relevant contexts, emerging changes, interdependencies and transformation necessary to operate in an agile way.

Jan De Visch has more than 30 years of experience managing transformational change processes and general HR functions. He coaches teams and companies towards exponential growth and more fluid organizational structures. He refined the Work Levels Model, which helps your organization to stay relevant to its customers and to enable you to achieve sustainable breakthrough levels of performance year after year.

He is the Owner and Managing Director of Connect & Transform, Exec. Prof at Flanders Business School (by Catholic University of Leuven) and Co-Founder of In-Flow Solutions. Author of various books like ‘The Vertical Dimension. Blueprint to Align Business and Talent Development’ (2010), Leadership: Mind(s) Creating Value(s) (2014), and ‘Dynamic Collaboration. Strenghtening Self-Organization and Collaborative Intelligence in Teams’ (2018) (co-author: Otto Laske). Twitter: @jandevisch. E-mail: jan@connecttransform.be . ”



Agile is shifting outside of the traditional IT functional silo to address the whole organization.
AO is a collection of pattern organized as scaffolding for an organization to adopt agile behavior.

During this session, I´ll propose to explain the basic concept of organization over structure and the results of the test I run at SAP Corporate Finance the last 2,5 years.

Getting rid of methodologies by addressing the nature of work in a complex system.

Pierre E. Neis, CEO,Agile Coach & Advisor at Agile ² GmbH, Co-founder of The Agile Revolution Group.Creator of: PLöRK (play&work framework), Agile Digital Enterprise Framework, Agile Animal Farm Game, Take the Win-Win Wave game, Sociogram Game, Scrum X, Scrum 4 Programs.



Ron Capelle has developed the Optimizing Organization Design® approach. This includes both assessment and implementation, and is based on the work of Elliott Jaques and his colleagues. Over 100 large scale projects and 24 research studies show that this approach leads to better employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and financial performance.

Chris Becker helped to develop this approach when he worked with Ron for almost a decade in the 1990’s. Since then he has developed and operated several firms in the digital space. He is currently the CEO of NetEffect which is a management and technology consulting and services firm. His firm works with organizations globally to support digital transformation, focusing on helping large organizations improve innovation and agility through business led, technology enabled change.

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss some of the critical success factors in ensuring a robust organization design while at the same time integrating key Agility (and other related) behaviours and practices into it. This is particularly important relative to the massive digital transformation that organizations are going through.

Topics would include:

  •  Levels of work related to Agility
  •  Agile cycle times and Requisite time span – a paradox or a powerful combination
  •  Cross functional accountabilities and authorities – a critical missing ingredient
  • Agile concepts and the digital transformation life cycle – common traps and pitfalls
  • The role of the Chief Digital Officer – organization design considerations
  • Digital transformation maturity model – Agile process and organization design alignment – how each can help drive the maturation
  • Agile in large organizations – Aligning strategy and objectives with organization design options for Agility

Ron Capelle, Founder and President at CapelleAssociates.He has developed assessment and implementation methods, materials and skills that are both comprehensive and cost efficient. His new book (Optimizing Organization Design: A Proven Approach to Enhance Financial Performance, Customer Satisfaction and Employee Engagement (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2013) presents the Capelle Associates approach. It is based on over 100 large scale projects and 24 research studies that we have completed over the past 25 years.


Chris Becker, who will be joining Ron during this talk, is CEO of NetEffect Solutions. He is experienced consultant and entrepreneur has a background in international consulting, managing new business startups and driving large impactful corporate change initiatives.

He also is a Board Member & Co-Founder at FileMobile.


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In a Requisite Organization, there are roles that should only be filled by someone with twenty years of industry experience. This is a challenge when the industry has only existed for 18 months!

By recognizing the difference between managers, service getters and coaches, organizations can structure appropriately, even though the ideals of Requisite Organization might not be attainable.

Agile can be managed, and there are roles for managers

Advocates of the Agile movement claim that the way forward is to abolish management.  This well-intentioned idea is fundamentally misguided, and the risks to effective organizational governance must be recognized.

How did we get into a situation where abolishing management looked like a good idea?

How do we restore legitimacy to managers and management?

Are there situations where traditional management is a bad idea?


Nick Argall, Managing Director of Hybrid Solutions. He has broad range of experiences from within and outside the IT department which he believes that gives him a capacity to build bridges between the technology and the business need, and the various stakeholders on both sides.

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Organizations today are faced with unprecedented rate of change coming from all directions and are varied in scope and complexity but they require the ability to adapt and thrive in times of chaos. Agility across the enterprise is the best foundation for organizational survival, but how can this be done most effectively?

Scrum and Kanban are effective approaches but this is not the problem they were created to solve and they’re not enough by themselves. So-called scaling agile efforts result in consultants rebranding organizations for a few years and collective significant salaries without sustainable impact in most cases.

Sometimes, the best way to prepare for the future is to look back. We can combine values, principles and practices from knowledge areas including requisite agility, systems thinking, lean, etc. to provide organizations and their leaders with expanded set of options. I’ve developed a framework-agnostic approach to help organizations be agile, rather than just do agile in about three months that is based on Lean and Agile principles but can integrate well into the requisite agility value system.

I would appreciate the opportunity to share my work with this group and would benefit from your feedback given the wide range of knowledge in this group.


Leila Rao,Enterprise Lean Agile Consultant at AgileXtended, Business Agility expertise, Facilitating the realization of business value by combining Lean-Agile expertise with best practices from disciplines such as facilitation, visual thinking, systems thinking, information architecture and design thinking to create experiential learning experiences that can support and sustain a learning organization where business value is a routine by-product of all processes and activities.

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My recent focus (2004-2018) has been on measuring Total Factor Productivity at the Work Process Level which will be published in my PhD thesis (University of London, Birkbeck College. The methodology and software developed over recent years enables operational work at levels 1-3 to be configured and reported on.

I have now turned my attention to levels of work from 4-7 which are concerned with structural or radical Innovation. I first studied these levels in my Executive Research Project (1984) which was presented at the first Computer Supported Cooperative Work conference in 1984. Paul Cashman co-organizer of CSCW and I worked for the following three years on the requirements for an L4 Innovation System (Cashman and Stroll 1986 and 1988).

Many years later in my MSc thesis (University of London 2014) I focused on the UK National Innovation System and reviewed how a software tool called KnowledgeGrid (developed as part of the earlier work on Work Process Systems) could be applied to such a system. Building on that work I have some proposals for how Recursive KnowledgeGrid could assist in the creation and communication of L5, L6, and L7 innovation systems.

David, CEO of Work Process Systems Limited. He has been Director at One Sigma Ltd. He has completed his MSc at University of London, Birkbeck College.



The nature of change is changing. In today’s turbulent environment, technological change has become incessant and the customer preferences unprecedentedly fickle. As the internal change of the organization must equal or exceed the rate of external change, the organization must rapidly reconfigure to changing circumstances on an ongoing basis. This requires response at the institutional level, as the organization aligns its value proposition vis-à-vis the shifting ecosystemic context. This calls for “ecosystem-agile” logic, characterized by dynamic integration and improvement, collaboration, co-evolution, shared purpose, commitment, and trust.

In this presentation, I will put forward the notion of “agility logics” – systemic sets of foundational premises that are contingent on the complexity of environment. The particular focus is on the ecosystem-agile logic and how it would be requisitely manifested along pertinent organizational aspects.

Janne J. Korhonen,Independent consultant with 20+ years of versatile consulting experience in strategic, enterprise-scale, mission-critical and international IT projects in various industries. He is an independent IT and Business Consultant at Requisite Remedy, a management consulting company.

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The purpose of strategy is to build advantage for the organisation to secure its survival and success. Even in more stable environments, conventional strategy approaches fail to deliver: more than 90% of strategic plans fail. In today’s VUCA environments, we need agile strategy which can be effective in highly dynamic environments. There are a number of criteria which are requisite for agile strategy and the session will explore these and evaluate different strategy approaches against them. It will also introduce Patterns of Strategy, a systemic and agile approach to strategy development, which is simple to grasp yet powerful and fast, speeding up the strategic process by an order of magnitude.

Lucy Loh, Director & Management Consultant at Fractal Consulting. She provides consultancy mainly in organisation diagnosis, design and development, business architecture, strategy development, and organisational change using systems approaches, and also some training in all of these. She specializes in organisation diagnosis, design and development, Strategy development, Transformation design, and management of business ecosystems



How do we find or develop Agile Leadership? What is the minimal level of leadership growth (or maturity) needed to pull off this fundamental change in paradigm? Throughout the history of Agile it has been challenging to tie Agile values, principles and practices to exactly what is required in an Agile Leader, and even more, how to develop such leadership; the definition of an “Agile Manager” has been in short supply. As we have stumbled into the age of Agile Transformations, a further question arises: What are the characteristics of a successful Agile Transformational Leader? We know it requires leadership that takes personal responsibility for the outcomes that matter most, and in the case of the transformation leader, the ability to be with the darker recesses of character and uncertainty required during the personal transformation that must precede organizational transformation. For the two of us looking through the lens of our 25 years doing transformations, when we combine these questions, we get one answer: Leadership Development.

We have found the Universal Model of Leadership (Mastering Leadership, Anderson & Adams, 2016) — offers a scientifically-driven and actionably-specific way of measuring — and enacting — Agile leadership. Their model is underpinned by three levels of leadership development (called Orders of Consciousness), uncovered by Harvard researcher and professor Robert Kegan and colleagues:
-Order 3 – Socialized (or Problem Reacting) Mind
-Order 4 – Self-Authoring (or Outcome-creating) Mind, and
-Order 5 – Self-Transforming (or Integral) Mind.

The leadership competencies required to enact Agile Leadership — as referenced and implied in common Agile principles and values, and assumed by Agile frameworks as being what is required of a manager — does not even come online in humans until Order 4. Given estimates that something like 75% of the population have not yet matured to this level, is it a surprise that our transformation efforts falter? This Self-Authoring Order becomes the requisite level of development in leaders for Agile to stand a chance of successful organizational implementation, let alone transformation. Leading such Transformations, in the research, and in our experience — does require an even greater level of consciousness — Order 5, the Integral mind.

Without a serious initiative to develop the requisite level of leadership maturity, Agile Transformations are unlikely to produce satisfactory outcomes. Our session will examine the mapping between established levels of leadership development and the requirements for being an Agile Leader, and an Agile Transformational Leader, and how to grow leadership to the requisite level across the organization.

Michael Spayd,who is Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Trans4mation.coach, an organizational Transformation consultancy in the Agile space. Authoring a book in Mike Cohn series, with Michele; working title: The Integral Agile Transformation Framework™.

Michele Madore,Co-founder of Trans4mation, LLC with Michael Spayd. She specializes in Leadership Circle 360 Assessment (TLC Certification), Executive Coach, Enterprise Agile Transformation Consultant, Strategic Conscious Change Consultant, and growing organizations.

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I have studied requisite organizations and importantly requisite variety. The way I generally operate is in the real me enterprise architecture with an emphasis on business architecture. I have a strong emphasis on services as the basic pattern for all organizations where work is performed.

My performance at the Un- will explore the intersection of these viewpoints in support of organizational agility. I will introduce the perspective that an organization has a choice of characteristics, including, but not limited to, agility.

The performance and the chapter seek to convey an architectural approach to specifying services that foste the desired characteristics, independently with respect to industry, market, or corporate form.

When I say “performance” I anticipate involvement by colleagues in some forms of active  and mutual learning. The actual exercise(s) are still to be chosen or designed, which I’d love to make interactive, starting now, to the extent practicable given the distribution of our physical locations before the event itself.

Doug,Principal Consultant at DougMcDavid Enterprises.In past,he has been Practicing enterprise architect with numerous start-ups in software development, community development, intellectual capital management, complementary currency, and virtual worlds training and education, as well as with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and Smarter Local Governments.



Our firm’s mission is to eliminate human suffering from the workplace. In that regard, my passion—I’m told my distinctive competency—is working with managers and executives—from the front line to the C-suite—on cultivating organizational agility: agility in the way their entire organization is led, managed and operated. One of the reasons people will tell me that this is a distinctive competency is because I had led such organizational transformations myself. Over the course of my career I have created 9 new organizations, renovated 4 under-performing ones, and redesigned 2 others that were doing OK, but were tooled for the past, not the future. Hence, I am able to move from concept and theory to pragmatic issues in a heartbeat.

Having now moved from the field to the sideline, from player to coach, I now work with leaders of organizations of any kind, any size, any function, and at any level in a hierarchy on adopting organizational agility. Occasionally, I run into that enlightened leader, who is just trying to make that corner of the world that they have the good fortune, to lead a better place. However, most often I engaged in Agile adoption efforts that started from the bottom-up and have stalled. They have conducted a successful pilot of Scrum, for example. Taking the next logical step in that adoption sequence, they then expanded their Agile adoption effort from the single pilot team to multiple teams. That expansion effort being successful, they move on to expand Agile across their entire organization. And this is where so many Agile adoption efforts choke and die, and they choke and die for one or both of two reasons, and both have to do with failures in leadership. One is that leadership has failed to condition the cultural soil—successful Agile adoption necessarily requires a transformation of the organization’s culture. The other reason is that management and leadership is unwilling to make the necessary changes in their roles and responsibilities—the rank and file have stepped up and changed the way they do their jobs, but when it becomes management’s turn, they get cold feet.

Jim Ruprecht, Co-Founder, Principal Consultant and Author at AgilityIRL,LLC. He is on a mission to eliminate human suffering from the workplace through education, coaching and consulting that is reality-based and agile-driven–to purge the suck. Active in the Agile since its emergence, and now a CSM, CSPO and CS@SP, I pioneered the extension of the agile philosophy to organizations personally leading the creation of 9 new organizations; the renovation of 4; the redesign of 2, and earning Medtronic’s Wallin Leadership Award and Cowles Media’s President’s Award.



Nothing works well everywhere. Although Requisite Agility is uniquely powerful in transforming work, it is not an exception to this fundamental reality. By identifying the environments it won’t thrive in gives us more time to apply the techniques where they will do they most good.

This dialogue explores where Agile, Agility, and Requisite Organization break down, using Kinston and Algie’s frameworks regarding decision making systems and work domains. You will leave with specific descriptors to identify these environments within your own organization and the particular Agility pieces that will still delivery value.

Forrest Christian is an advisor and executive coach working with high-capability individuals and knowledge-based startups who brings powerful insight and knowledge to his clients’ unique situations to provide real-world practical advice.

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