Agile + DevOps West 2020 Concurrent Session : Agile BS and the Leadership Impediment


Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Agile BS and the Leadership Impediment

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In 2018 the Defense Innovation Board (DIB), an advisory panel comprised of technology companies, academics, and DoD personnel, issued “How to Detect Agile BS,” a publication intended to alert Agencies that are purchasing “agile” services to the signs of “fake agile.” The problem is that this board, made up of some of the biggest names in the business, got it wrong! In this presentation Jeff Dalton, will offer a solution to solve fake agile, along with a fact-based rebuttal to one of the biggest misconceptions about agile today. Jeff demonstrates how the Defense Innovation Board missed the root cause of the problem they were trying to solve. Drawing upon research from his latest book, Great Big Agile: An OS for Agile Leaders, and based on interviews and assessments of more than 200 self-described agile organization, Jeff will present data, models, and solutions to the problem and demonstrate why agile is really a multi-layered leadership model. Some of the data he’ll discuss includes: 45% of agile teams say they lack management support; 51% of managers report that they do not have leadership skills needed for large-scale agility; and 65% say corporate vision and philosophy conflict with agile values. Clearly developers are not the problem!

Jeff Dalton

Jeff Dalton is Chief Evangelist at, a Research and Development organization that studies agile leadership. He is a technology executive with over 30 years of experience as a CTO, CIO, VP of Product Development, and for that past fifteen years has been CEO of Broadsword and AgileCxO. He is an executive agile coach, agile assessor, and instructor, a regular conference speaker, and author of both "Great Big Agile: An Operating System for Agile Leaders" and "The Guide to Scrum and CMMI: Improving Agile Performance with CMMI." He has written for CIO Magazine, CIO Online, Better Software Magazine, and the Cutter IT Business Journal on agile leadership in a large-scale environment. In his spare time, Jeff is an instrument rated pilot and plays bass in a jazz band. He has degrees in music and computer science.