Presented by Ole Jepsen


Human nature is the concept that there is a set of distinguishing characteristics, ways of thinking, feeling and acting that all humans have. Agile works because it appeals to our common desire for belonging, feeling trust, taking ownership and helping make success happen. But how and why do Agile principles and processes fit our nature? How does Agile fit with how our brains operate? Together, we will examine these questions and go deeper into how Agile creates meaning for individuals, teams and organizations.

Relative estimation, use case camps, two people at a whiteboard. These are just some of the Agile techniques that executed well yield major value. But why do they work? And why are servant leadership and Agile values meaningful? It comes down to human nature and that when the left and right brains act together amazing things happen. Through a combination of theory and hands-on exercises, we’ll create a deeper understanding of why Agile works so that you become better at leading Agile implementation. We will step out of everyday Agile processes and learn why Agile works on a higher level.

According to futurist Daniel Pink, we have moved from the Information Age, marked by knowledge workers, to the Conceptual Age where creators and empathizers take a primary role. This is nothing new to Agile, where values such as trust, communication, respect, ownership, collaboration and courage are key. Agile as a methodology is gaining followers inside and outside of IT because it fits this new Age. And creators and empathizers succeed because of their ability to bring right-brain reasoning into a left-brain world.

Format and length:

90 mins interactive

Intro – 20 minutes
Experiments with the whole group. One experiment will clearly demonstrate significant differences between the left and the right brain. An other experiment demonstrates how positive emotions increases awarenes.

Workshop 1 – 30 minutes
Interactive exercises based on the LAWST technique, a peer-to-peer format that encourages questions and drives learning and improvement. We will use this technique to thoroughly explore the topic of human nature and why Agile works in pairs, small groups, and with the entire group.

Workshop 2 – 30 minutes
Each group take the findings from LAWST exercise and invents their own exercise/activity to illustrate why Agile works in relation to human nature and/or how Agile can be applied to the broader world (for example: executive level leadership, politics and diplomacy, or raising children).

Wrap up – 10 minutes
Find top 3 learnings on Human nature and why Agile works

Intended audience and prerequisites:

Anybody who is not only interested in Agile principles and techniques – but who is also curious about what to do when Agile don’t work, interested in why Agile works, how we can improve Agile principles and techniques – and how we can invent new principles and techniques.

Attendees should have some knowledge and experience with Agile.

Objective(s) of the session:

  • Understand the reasons why Agile works to help you think more outside the box and become better at creating and adapting new Agile techniques
  • Learn how to use Agile principles to influence hearts and minds
  • Relate how the brain functions to why Agile works on a higher level
  • Gain greater awareness of how to lead any Agile project based on peer-to-peer sharing exercises

Benefits for participants and presenter(s):

We will all learn more about why Agile works – which will benefit our future thinking and evolving Agile to the next level. I hope that this will benefit not only the participants and the presenter – but that it will potentially also benefit the Agile movement as a whole… (WOW!!)