Doing Agile Right with Darrell Rigby

AUGUST 23, 2020



Darrell Rigby leads Bain and Co’s Global Innovation and Agile practices and is the former head of their Global Retail practice.


Darrel joined Bain in 1978 and specializes in innovation and retail growth strategies. Over the past 42 years, he has worked with many of the world’s most successful companies.


A frequent speaker and writer on innovation and retail issues including agile innovation, BothBrain innovation®, omnichannel retailing, winning in turbulence, brand positioning and change management, he regularly speaks at management conferences and has made media appearances on CNBC, CNN Moneyline and Bloomberg. His research is widely published in the business pages of many U.S. and international publications, including The Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and The Financial Times. He is also the author of Winning in Turbulence (2009)


Running an Agile business requires doing three things well

1. Run the business efficiently (Operations)

2. Change the business efficiently

3. Harmonize those two so they work well together


Discuss some of the variables that should be considered when deciding to apply Agile to an area. Do you want to be an innovative leader in this area? Vary by size and by task.

Agile is tool just like every other. A Chainsaw is a great tool but we shouldn’t use it for heart surgery. Think about what you want to optimize for. Is it innovation? Is it security?

Not familiar with the Dunning-Kruger Effect?


Lots of discussion about prototypes, which are really just experiments, to validate you’re on the right track with building value for a customer.


That damn Spotify model… How SR leadership looks to just “install” Agile in organizations which really translates for them as layoffs and business as normal for them but changes for everyone else. No focus on Values, no focus on Principals, just forced conformity to practices that may or not be valuable to different teams in different areas.


· Favor self selected teams over specialized and assigned teams

· Favor real teams over loosely aligned groups of individuals

· Favor transparency of information over slow information sharing

· Favor decisions made by the many over the few

· Favor deliberate action over discouraging and avoiding conflict


Role of leader moves from predict, command, and control to learn, adapt, unleash. Finding that organizations that treat leaders in this way are 40% more productive. They could be going to the beach by 10am on Thursday compared with their competition.


The people who aren’t bought into the change shouldn’t be leading it. No shit! A great line from the book that re-enforced something we see all too often. Middle managers who are more concerned about riding out the change than actually changing are placed in charge.

What do you think is going to happen?


The holy Agile wars that are going on. How going to war with each other really hurts Agile as a whole and increases the potential that it falls to the wayside. Assume positive intent with other people and open up a conversation and see things from a new perspective.


Check out Doing Agile Right.




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