How about an agile talk instead of a talk about agile?


Here’s the thing, next week I am going to speak at the Agile Tour Dublin . My talk topic is in the beginner track and it is a Quick Introduction to Agile.

How do I keep people awake and deliver something that will be valuable?

I could start with a timeline of the events that brought us to the manifesto and then continue towards the different frameworks, mention the important people, talk about the values etc.

Well, I could, but maybe nobody would care.

I could talk about how agile requires a fundamental change in the mindset and discuss potential problems people might find once they embark into a change journey.

Maybe slightly better

Or I could focus on the values and principles in the manifesto and explain how they apply to what people do within organisations

But people might go back asleep, etc.

Fundamentally I think that no matter which of the 3 approaches I take, it might be something that people could get from reading a wikipedia page, not good enough for my customers!

So I thought, how about I do an agile talk instead of doing a talk about agile.

How about before the start I ask my customers (the audience) to pick from a set of topics they want to hear about. And how about I get the audience to give me feedback while I deliver so that I can react quickly and change the subject when it is not giving value any longer?

This would embody the close customer collaboration, the fast feedback and the ability to react to changing conditions.

Also, how about I ask the audience if they want me to speak for exactly 30 minutes and go through all my slides or if they believe that they can collaborate and give me feedback so that I might be finished 10 minutes earlier if the topics are complete or maybe even 5 minutes later if they still need some answers.

This would reflect the customer collaboration over contract negotiation

How about if I told them that I am not going to send them the slides by mail but I am available all day long to talk to each and any of them discussing the content of the talk.

This would sound like face to face collaboration over processes and tools

Wouldn’t this format also embody Working software over comprehensive documentation?

Do you think a format like this would be valuable?

Do you have any other suggestions to do an agile talk instead of a talk about agile?

Please help me by using the comments or mail me at






10 thoughts on “How about an agile talk instead of a talk about agile?

  1. Wow. I wish I could make it. Sounds if you’re on the right track and could adapt where required. Brave, but sounds like it could work and leave folk with a very memorable agile talk.
    Please let us know how it went.

    • Hi Patrick, thanks for your feedback!

      Lean coffee is a great format, you probably remember we met at the Lean Coffee Dublin meetup i help organise 😄

      The problem in this case is that i will have a number of people that might be too many for that format, but you got me thinking, thank you!

        • Thanks Patrick, that’s another very interesting format! I think I could use it if I can get a couple of other speakers to help, it sounds an excellent format.

          So far what I have decided to do is the following:

          1. Lean coffee format (mixed fish bowl if I can now that you mention it)
          2. I will give the explanation of the format using slides so that people will start by feeling relaxed in a known and comfortable format
          3. For the topics I will use a subset of the agile cards. The topics will be selected by the people with dot voting (
          4. Use a flipchart for visuals
          5. At the beginning I will ask the people to fill 2 visual surveys on where their company is with agile journey and where they think they are to give context on level (the survey vote is a tick on a scale from 0-10)

          Due to the fact that it is a beginners track I am inviting some other seasoned practitioners to get the conversation flowing.

          Thanks again for your suggestions that have been incredibly helpful, keep ’em coming!

  2. Hi Gus,

    Interesting idea. Seems to me more of an intermediate talk than a beginner talk though. However, I guess it depends on how it’s executed and explained.


    • Thanks for your feedback David.

      I think I will do an experiment at the start and if it doesn’t work well I will revert to traditional talk.

      I think that Patrick’s suggestion to use the lean coffee format can be used in a way.
      I could gather topics of interest from the audience, the audience would vote on them and I will talk about the ones with highest number of votes.

  3. Perfect Idea.Practical things leave a great impact on the people. So instead of theoretical things if you make them realise by doing things and showing them in your presentation itself then people will remember it for a long time and will be able to implement it in the same way.

    It will also save a lot of time of people in the meeting they organise which are very much boring. This workshop may not only teach people agile but also to conduct meetings in an efficient way

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