Agile? Ask "why" first!

By Anton Rossouw.

I like the word “Agile”. It positively amplifies implied action, energy, and change. It also gets the change sceptics talking (we have always done it, it will not work, we have done it before, its not we us) !

I also believe Agile is a “strange attractor” ( Chaos Theory) that can be applied in social complex systems as a meme that attracts organisational behaviours towards the point in a basin where “newness” emerges. Emergent newness is uncertain and can be hugely disruptive or greatly beneficial. 

Dangerous roller coaster ride !

Dangerous roller coaster ride !

Caution is in order because Agile transformation can be a roller coaster ride where you must hang on for dear life!

Before getting on to the roller coaster ask “Why”. Don't get on until solid answers are articulated and a clear destination is envisaged.

Reasons why not to get on the roller coaster are:

  1. It's a new and interesting fad not be missed.
  2. Lots of cool people seem to be doing it and having fun.

One thing about Agile is that it will change your organisation, so we need to do it for the right reasons and for the better!

I found many of those right reasons in Stephen Wageners book Adventures in the Sea of Complexity. It explains in a humorous and engaging way what the new Agile world order looks like.

The story reminds me of one of my all time favourite poems - Lewis Carols The Hunting of the Snark.

Royal Family of the Kingdom of Mismanagement

Royal Family of the Kingdom of Mismanagement

In the book one meets the rulers and inhabitants of the Kingdom of Mismanagement, a sovereign island nation. They live in denial of the surrounding Sea of Complexity that rages to create chaos in the island. King Schedule and Queen Urgency govern with an iron fist.  Their son the fierce Dark Prince of Finance enforces control. A myriad of other characters prop up the Kingdom. You will meet the Crown Prince of Engineering, The Countess of Change, the band of Process Monkeys, Mr Continuous Degradation and the Grumpy Old Men of Influencers .

The story amplifies the undertones of modern corporate life on to Dave Snowdens Cynefin model, bringing it to life in a way that leads to unexpected emergent praxis. It also amplifies the important element of fun in the workplace as an alternative to simplistic debilitating seriousness.


You will also meet the elephant in the room. They are more common than one may realise!

Elephant in the room !

Elephant in the room !


This book has offered me many poignant answers to “Why Agile?” as it illustrates what needs to change and how it needs to change.

Get a few copies for your company today and distribute it around. Prep the network for change.  Be brave enough for the roller coaster ride but make sure you Inform - Select - Confirm at first.

Embark on a fun journey for all !