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01 March 2012



Many thanks to Jim for broaching this topic in such a positive and constructive fashion.

I've decided to eschew articulating how I see things, or how we all got to "here" - at least, until sorely pressed. I'm guessing we all have a different take on where "here" is and our various paths, anyhow.

I concur with Jim's general concerns, but will refrain from any analysis of causes, believing that to be less than helpful.

My sincere thanks go to all the folks Jim mentions (and others besides) for their inspirational work and dedication to making things in the knowledge-work space better.

My hope and wish is that we can find ways to do more of the positive things, moving forward together and finding ways our work can complement each other's, for the betterment of people, businesses and society as a whole.

Please allow me to ask a hypothetical (Solution Focus) question: If we each woke up tomorrow morning and found that the disquieting things Jim mentions had, magically, entirely disappeared, what is the first thing you would notice that told you things had indeed changed?

- Bob

Paul Boos


My intuition says that we would realize it through more combinations of the values, principles, and practices among these key players and others throughout the world. This would strengthen the stories for change we so sorely need.

This realization may not be rapid; it won't be as obvious as the wall coming down between Eastern & Western Berlin. yet the flow of ideas would cross the borders in a more fluid fashion as their would be nothing holding them back. And the funny thing is I think that is what all of us want... Which is why when we perceived walls being erected by the various gatherings, we took up defensive positions.


Chris Matts


Really nice post. I feel the need to sign it as if it were a manifesto. ;-)

Like you I dispair at the imaginary conflicts that exist between these communities of thinkers. Olav and I pride ourselves on being first followers. We make a point of supporting and following people with new ideas. Possibly the reason is that we are both practitioners rather than thought leaders. We make our living out of using the ideas rather than selling them.

In my work and personal life I use ideas from Scrum, Agile, XP, Real Options and Complexity. A few years ago I engaged in the Scrum-Kanban war. Anyone who knows Feature Injection will know that I was using the motivations from "Break the Model" to test and improve my model for Kanban by hitting it with the biggest mallet I could find ( namely the Scrum Community ). Those who know me will also know that the conflict fed my ADHD tendencies. ;-)

Whenever someone mortgage depends on them being the leader of something or their something being better than someone else's thing, the learning starts to take second place to defending your territory.

I think this is a very healthy conversation to start. Thank you.


Peter Stevens

Hi Jim,

Thank you for this! Twitter wars may be good for drawing attention to a person's blog, but infighting is counterproductive to the higher goal of changing the people and organizations we seek to influence. We weaken ourselves rather than building on common strengths.

I recently read a really nice article from Liz Keogh: "Scrum and Kanban: both the same, only different" ( http://j.mp/xl6OgV ). I felt this way ever since I took David Anderson's course. After hearing his case studies, I thought he handled his projects much the way I would have done it, even though I generally prefer Scrum as a starting point. Her article is so true: Scrum and Kanban have much in common.

We have much more in common than we have things which divide us. Despite that, if you confront a thought leader with an idea that s/he did not invent, it seems their natural instinct is to say, "yes, but..." and start to debate.

Debating seldom convinces anyone. It drives people into the their corners and hardens positions. When scoring points is more important than listening, there is little hope of achieving a common understanding. (Any politicians reading this?)

"Yes, and..." is so much more constructive.

This observation was perhaps the motivating force behind the Stoos gathering (I write this as one of the 4 initiators of the Gathering). Everywhere we looked, we found compatible frameworks, whose originators were often completely unaware of each other's work. (For example, try to find a book on leadership that discusses Scrum or Kanban -- there aren't many!).

So we brought together as diverse a group of people as we could find and let them explore their common ground. The result is a very inclusive philosophy which seeks to be a uniting banner for many complementary frameworks.

So here is a challenge to the thought leaders of the world: Pick your nemesis, find 5 things which that approach has in common with yours, and blog about it - without any 'yes, buts'! It would be so cool to see our thought leaders saying nice things about each other!



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