Empirical Leadership: Proven Alternatives To Agile For Executives

Christopher Avery | 01:30 – 02:45


Selling agile for management has become a favorite calling and pastime. And resistance to agile by management continues to be a common response. Most of us know of stories where management in large corporations actually say “don’t talk to us about ‘agile’”.
So what’s the agile evangelist to do?

When faced with this challenge I decided to search for other approaches to managing that “felt” agile but (a) did not use the same name and (b) originated in management (as opposed to development). That means I was looking for proven approaches that are holistic, empirical, and rooted in systems thinking.

And I found some. This session will share what I found and make two promises:
For agilists challenged with selling agile to management, it will provide agile-like alternatives that executives may be more receptive to hearing, and thus to trying.

For executives attracted to agile challenged with understanding how agile could work in management, operations, strategy, sales, etc., this session will provide alternatives that have been developed and proven in those management arenas.


Christopher is a sought-after, international speaker, author, and business advisor on responsible leadership, teamwork, and change for companies like GAP, Wells Fargo, and Ebay. Known for his cutting-edge work to demystify and then develop practical team leadership skills for engineers and other technical professionals, Christopher wrote the popular classic Teamwork Is An Individual Skill for everyone who is fed up with working in bad teams. Fortune magazine called it the only book on teamwork you need to read.

As the visionary force behind the worldwide Leadership Gift community, Christopher applies groundbreaking discoveries about personal responsibility and performance to support leaders intent on rapidly building highly reliable, agile, sustainable, and accelerating teams and cultures.

Christopher is president of Partnerwerks Inc., the company he co-founded in 1991 to document best practices for collaborating under competitive conditions. He is an agile coach with Rally Software, teaching Scrum and Product Owner workshops. Christopher is also a Senior Consultant with the IT and Agile Project Management practices of the Cutter Consortium, a Boston-area think tank. He co-authored the Declaration of Interdependence and co-founded the Agile Project Leadership Network dedicated to connecting, developing, and supporting great project leaders.

Christopher earned his Doctorate in Communication of Technology from The University of Texas at Austin where he occasionally lectures. He is a Visiting Scholar at Capella University.

The author of hundreds of articles and commentaries about individual and collective performance at work, Christopher is a popular source for the media.