Agile doesn’t scale. There, I said it. Actually people have been telling me that for over ten years, and I’ve just refused to believe them, but they were right. Does that mean you can’t deliver large-scale programmes using agile methods? Not at all. But to scale you need something else, something substantively different, something the Agile Manifesto and the existing team-scale agile methods don’t even have an opinion about.

I have seen a handful of successful large-scale deliveries across multiple agile teams, multiple locations and multiple programmes start to look uncomfortably like those of traditional programmes, and involve phrases like delivery assurance, governance and portfolio management. They just approach them differently.

What made them work? The challenge is getting large numbers of people to think in the same direction. Shared guiding principles, a clear vision and a common understanding enable what I call contextual consistency. I believe this one lever is the single greatest enabler of technology delivery at scale, and is at the heart of the thing we call empowerment. In this talk I will explain why.

Dan North Dan North & Associates Ltd, UK

Programmer and organizational change specialist Dan North applies principles from lean operations and agile software development to help organizations align their technology capabilities with their business objectives. With over twenty years of experience in IT, Dan is a frequent speaker at technology conferences worldwide, has published feature articles in numerous software and business publications, and contributed to The RSpec Book: Behaviour Driven Development with RSpec, Cucumber, and Friends and 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know: Collective Wisdom from the Experts. The originator of Behaviour-Driven Development (BDD) and Deliberate Discovery, Dan is currently working on his book, Accelerated Agile – from months to minutes, and helping organizations radically improve their delivery. He blogs at

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