Jem D’jelal: The agile thought police.

Reblogged with permission from Jem D’jelal, the original author of this
content, as a contributor to Originally published on
LinkedIn .

Jem D'jelal Jem D’jelal Coaching individuals & teams to find “better” ways of working.

One of the most incredible things about being British is the beautiful right to self expression.

Freedom of speech!

I don’t take this for granted.

My late uncle was placed in Prison as a Journalist speaking out against the Turkish government many moons ago.

And so I take self expression as a luxury that not everyone is afforded.

Grateful is the word.

Now you may have noticed this “thing” in our agile community.

The it’s not “politically correct” to challenge a framework, an idea, a technique…an industry problem.

And if you do pluck up the courage – careful to not say something with emotion & heart because god forbid, you might offend someone.

I mean the last thing you want to be labelled as is a “rebel”, then you wouldn’t be able to get one of those corporate gigs for £1500 a day.

We wouldn’t want that would we 🙂

So how does this work?

If we’re all about transparency, openness, curiosity …fearlessness – then when did we develop this policing of what is “ok” and what is “not ok”?

Whatever happened to keeping the dialogue open to learn? Even from the purists.

The latest sin is to say that you’re passionate about x framework.

Oh no! Don’t say that. You’re a nut case if you say that!

It’s all about being open to everything – y’know the jack of all trades.

The latest of agile fashion or evolution?

Maybe the person who you call a purist has a deeper understanding of a framework than you do – and that deep depth in knowledge has some wisdom to offer.

But the fixation is to make a stand & say “this mindset” or “this world view” is the optimal view & anyone else outside of this is wrong.

It’s like some strange sort of “trying to hard” liberal movement that seeks to squash any intolerant opinions through intolerance of “those” opinions.

Self righteous BS.

If you believe that the agile principles & values are all you need to get by, that’s completely fine.

But it’s not the only principle or value led belief system available.

Think about it.

Kanban, Scrum – both have principles & values – and both can be practised with the same belief system that you have of using agile.

That is through Principles & Values.

You can still be an agile Zealot as you can be a Scrum fundamentalist.

So before we do the finger pointing thing, “ohh yeah so & so” is pushing x – guess what, so are you.

Stones, Glass houses.yeah.

Inauthentic Harmony

You know that when people are afraid to rock the boat more and more in our community – whether it’s LinkedIn, a meet up or whatever – it starts taking away what’s real.

We shouldn’t have to make our focus the need to conform & “go with the flow” when sharing an opinion.

Wisdom can be found in the most unpopular of opinions.

What’s wrong with open emotion, to share what you think with conviction?

If we’re afraid to confront positively then we may as well have robots do the communicating for us.

There is learning to be had when we engage, exchange & deliver a message with heart felt emotion.

It’s called being human.

Many of my peers in the agile space who I hold dear, began with intensity because of different views.

So what?

If there are contentious issues, passion, characters…all these elements at play create the experience of learning!

Comfortable being uncomfortable

Many times I’ve followed people on Twitter who have a very different opinion to me.

I’ve even tried to grab a coffee with someone who does SAFe! (Ohhh the hate mail will flow tonight).

If we all hung around people that keep confirming our world view, then where would we really grow?

Staying curious to try & understand different points of view – even when delivered with emotion – is no crime.

It can feel like the veneer corporate agile is starting to seep through the fences of an open, curious, fearless community that will have it out with you!

Without worrying about the agile thought police putting a black x over your name.

agile brexit

The Brexiters who thought they were “better” than the remainers & vice versa – only pushed people away & lost out on a community staying connected.

Different opinions shouldn’t mean divided people.

We shouldn’t aim to have the same opinions as one another.

We should consider leaving the door open to discuss opinions, no matter how big, bad, explosive & different that they are to our own.

Aggressive atheism & religious zealots both suffer from the same ignorance.


Where did this thought police stuff come from?

Why did it even come to surface?

Is it that we don’t have enough opportunities to mix with people that have different ideas to one another?

Same conferences every year?

Engaging the same people who agree with your thoughts on LinkedIn?

Do we need a face to face platform where we can have a beer with people who are like chalk and cheese to our views on change agent work?

Would love to hear your ideas.


Published by Marshall Guillory -

Information Technology professional, transformation leader, agile evangelist & coach, change agent, scrum master, servant leader and more...

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