Agile Coachs, where does your allegiance lie ?

The Coach With a Mouth
4 min readApr 5, 2019


Stargate factions — MGM

My latest discussions around agility make me wonder where to stand in regards of organizations efficiency. And, believe me or not as a Stargate fan — yes we exist :) — I found many similarities between the two worlds. However who is who ? I found my place, you ?

note: take these descriptions with a grain of salt, it is as much humoristic, as it is sarcastic and serious. Anyway, do not take it personnally :)

The founding fathers (btw any mother ?)

The Alterans, are maybe the most easy to link to our Agile Universe. They are the ancients, the founders of Atlantis according to the 10 seasons long TV-show. Well, the manifesto co-authors would be our founding fathers in agility, plus some others like Taiichi Ohno, Anderson and many others. It’s easy to see that with the manifesto how they established a baseline, as much as the Alterans building stargates, to make organizations a better place and mostly enabling more or better collaboration. They still exist but they are slowly fading drowned under the noise that the other species are doing. They are also taking a seat back as they are exhausted from what they built and their desire to let their Universe evolve from itself.

The endangered species

This is maybe the more difficult link to make between the two worlds. The Asguardians are very efficients and smart beings, very technologically advanced but lack the numbers and are on the demographic decline. I wonder if we can link them to the six-sigma or lean people as their constant search for mathematics effiency is putting them in a corner. Either because it is too advanced for many people, or simply because Scrum, Kanban and others are taking the biggest shares of the spotlight. It can also be that they are just in another league altogether, trying to create bridges only to the most worthy.

They are still here

Wel, isn’t it that obvious ? The Wraith are the Waterfall people, don’t they ? With high longevity, well equipped and in numbers, the Wraith are a bunch of people that are fighting to survive. They will do whatever it takes to keep feeding and are looking for fresh blood. PMI-ACP anyone ?

And now this is were it get interesting with the last ones standing !

A guide to rule them all

I had difficulty to finalize my choice for representing the Goa’ulds in our Agile Universe. Powerful but enslaving people against their will is maybe, what the Scrum people would be the closest to. Yeah it hurts, I know, but even in the guide it is stated that if you are not doing what’s described in the guide, you are not doing scrum. And for the latest decade, I would say Scrum was “forced” to many teams, as a way to say we are now ‘doing agile’. And as the Goa’ulds, Scrum is powerful and can bring riches, but at what cost ? Our free will ?

Which bring us to our last too contenders !

The ascended beings, or are they ?

“ They are a group of “ascended” beings who use their advanced technology and knowledge of the universe to attempt to trick non-ascended humans into worshipping them as gods.” — wikipedia

Could that be… YES ! you are right, it’s the SAFe tsunami ! They even managed to convince non agile organizations to do ̶a̶g̶i̶l̶e̶ SAFe. How come coaches and agile companies (consulting and others) can lower the head, close their eyes to this and become SAFE apostles without fighting. What kind of tricks do they use ?

Shouldn’t you scale when a cultural shift is at least started (so from top down) in an organizations where people are mastering or close to master either or both Scrum and Kanban (among others options) ?

What are the miracles they promised which drive crazy the organizations to the point of doing SAFe just because it is the trend ? Is it just because the customer wants it even if its not what he needs ? big fat contracts ?

This brings me to the last contender standing, the Tau’ris…

“Nothing but freedom”

As the motto for this Stargate species state, there is people fighting for freedom, for free will in the Stargate Universe. In our Agile Universe some call themselves agnostic (AA) other just doesn’t call themselves anything. They are just doing it.

When you read the famous “Project Phoenix” book, you can sense that the agility in Parts Unlimited was nurtured, grown from within. And this is the most powerful agile, not the one that is pushed to an organization through a recipe that worked somewhere so it should apply everywhere (the Spotify guy is specifically telling not to do so !). The Tau’ris were efficients in liberating people using their own strenghs and acquiring bits of other technology so they could use the best of everyone.

And I believe being a coach, an agile coach, is being a Tau’ri. You must be aware of all the other species, know their strenghts and weaknesses, either from within or by experience. You must fight and help organizations to discover their own path, build their own agility even if that mean using tools from the Goa’ulds or the Ori for instance, but never to fall for them.

Today however, the Oris seem to win, as even organizations are telling you “we will not recruit you due to your dislike of SAFe”. This is infuriating. As much as the Stargate Universe exist thanks to all these species, the Agile Universe exist thanks to all our beliefs and stances, but a balance between all them must be maintained, we as coachs are this balance. Let’s team up !

It lets me wonder who the replicators are…

And you, where do your allegiance lie to ?



The Coach With a Mouth

Tackling many agile myths or simply looking into concepts with a grain of humour and lot of salt. I mean, a grain of salt and a lot of humour… well, it depends!