The Agile Hero's Journey – or This is not the change you have been looking for

Speaker - William Knight
By embarking on an agile journey you are treading in the footsteps of ancient heroes and heroines, the fairy tale players of medieval Europe and the protagonists of modern Hollywood. You will make enemies and allies, climb obstacles and face setbacks, but only by understanding the entire journey can you hope to deliver lasting change.
Stepping into a world of change is no less a challenge than the twelve tasks of Hercules, the destruction of Jaws, or in particular Luke's journey to the dark side and back. But by accepting the call, you will face more and mightier enemies than you could possibly imagine, yet be rewarded in a magnitude beyond your dreams.
This is an ancient story to help make sense of a disruptive world, a tale told through narration, prezzie and drawing parallels between agile change, ancient heroes and the plot of Star Wars.

This is not just a delightful way of viewing agile. Using a pattern like the Hero's Journey serves to point out if your agile change is missing anything? It will answer questions like, Have you recognised all the players, obstacles and allies, and have you put in mitigating strategies for the disruption they may cause? Who typically populates this world and who will you meet upon the way? Who are the archetypes of the story, that you will meet again and again.

This story will teach you how to view disruption and conflict as a necessary ingredient of change, and a necessary journey on the path to improvement. You must consider the entire change process as a whole, not just a spot solution to a problem, and recognise there will be resistance and obstacles, allies and enemies. It will show why success can be narrow if not everybody has finished their own heroic journey.


William Knight is a senior technical practices coach with Assurity (NZ), former journalist and author. For fifteen years I worked as a software developer, architect and process guy, before taking a sharp turn into technology journalism when my kids were young.

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  • Bridget

    I enjoyed the fun and creative way the presentation was delivered. I could definitely relate to lots of "Shadow" and "Shapeshifter" characters that I have encountered on projects. How do we steer these people into "Agile" way of thinking?

    1 · April 16, 2014

  • William K.

    I want to thank you all for coming along to the talk last night, to what was, perhaps, my most difficult hero's journey in the last few years!

    I enjoyed presenting and though there were moments where I nearly lost the plot (no pun), I hope you enjoyed the material.

    I'd be really interested in talking further about any archetypes and strategies for handling threshold guardians that you have come across in your work and given the positive reaction to the ideas presented I think I'll be putting a book outline together in the next months. Any interesting stories would most welcome.

    thanks
    William

    1 · April 16, 2014

    • Garreth M.

      I wonder if we could come up some broad strategies for dealing with the different personas, based off crowd sourced experience?

      1 · April 16, 2014

    • Nigel C.

      I like your idea Garreth. The closest I've seen to this is the book "Driving Technical Change" which focuses more on the types of character you will encounter when introducing change to developers.

      Unfortunately I couldn't attend last night, but enjoyed a preview session of William's talk a couple of weeks ago.

      April 16, 2014

  • Sandy M.

    A different, creative and novel perspective on Agile adoption. Will is a great presenter and story teller. Now I can't help walking around seeing archetypes and plots everywhere ...

    2 · April 16, 2014

  • Patricia L.

    I enjoyed this presentation based on mythical archetypes. The power of a story is strong and it helped me understand why things sometimes work or don't work. We all need a Gandalf!

    1 · April 16, 2014

  • Trevor C.

    Good story :) - puts agile issues in perspective. Entertaining presentation.

    1 · April 16, 2014

  • Brenda L.

    Really enjoyed the different approach to thinking about the Agile journey.

    1 · April 15, 2014

  • Garreth M.

    So many words, so little information. Guess that's what journalism is all about these days eh? :-)

    1 · March 20, 2014

    • Mike L.

      And in the best iterative fashion I have added some more words hot off the press.

      March 20, 2014

    • Garreth M.

      nice one :-) more understandable now

      March 28, 2014

  • Patricia L.

    This sounds really interesting and a positive way of looking at what can be a challenging process.

    1 · March 26, 2014

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