Mathias Eifert

Emergence: The Past and Future of Agile

February 13, 2021


If there was a fifth line in the Agile Manifesto, perhaps it could be that agilists value emergence over the assumption of predictability. Complexity theory and the Cynefin framework describe the distinctions and interactions between different problem contexts and provide both a conceptual anchor for Agile as a particular problem-solving approach and the underlying reasons for its success. But where does that leave us?

In this session, I want to retrace some of my own journey by discussing how Cynefin helped me make sense of Agile. We will review the framework, revisit some key Agile practices through its lens, and explore its implications on the interplay of Lean and Agile thinking. Finally, I will share some practical ways in which I have applied my learning about complexity, emergence, and unpredictability to evolve context-specific Agile approaches when working with clients and teams.