04/20 – LESS TALKS: Dave Snowden: Rewilding Agile

David Snowden divides his time between two roles: founder Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge and the founder and Director of the Centre for Applied Complexity at the University of Wales. His work is international in nature and covers government and industry looking at complex issues relating to strategy, organisational decision making and decision making. He has pioneered a science based approach to organisations drawing on anthropology, neuroscience and complex adaptive systems theory. He is a popular and passionate keynote speaker on a range of subjects, and is well known for his pragmatic cynicism and iconoclastic style.

Materials to Download

Additional resources from Dave:
Very salient spots in the recording:
Snippets from Dave’s talk:
  • You must understand the difference between Correlation vs. Causation, in order to understand eco-systemic dynamics
  • Cookie-cutting approaches don’t work. Forced homogeneity does not work.
  • Fallacy about SAFe and Spotify
  • Consultancies, are a part of revenue-generating schema, when it comes to installing large frameworks
  • When millions are spent on SAFe installations, nobody will admit of failures. People that make decisions about installing SAFe are long gone before responsibility for actions needs to be taken. People that think that it could work, ignore it for the most part and just do things that matter most
  • Ask Spotify, why NOT to use Spotify “model”
  • Beware of snake oil versioning of management: 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, etc
  • Forecasting of COVID impact on big consultancies
  • You dont scale a complex system, by aggregation or imitation but by decomposition and recombination

Agile started off as an inspirational set of statements and values that inspired a generation of software design. But slowly and steadily that original inspiration has become a set of structured methods, certificates for turning up at a course and a series of method wars which have most recently degenerated to court action. How do we rediscover the original inspiration of the Agile Manifesto and in a very real sense return Agile to the wild. Is it time to move away from the large scale expensive frameworks into a multi-methods, multi-tools ecosystem and to create a new professional practice? In the current crisis agility is not enough …


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