Agile: It’s a Culture Hack

On September 12 in Philadelphia and September 14 in Boston, Agile Philly and Agile Boston are bringing the Agile Culture Conference to the world. Philadelphia and Boston associate with freedom and revolution. And life, liberty and …the pursuit of happiness.

It’s time!

Thomas Paine said it well when he said:

“…self-organizing teams perform for themselves almost everything that is ascribed to managers.”

Well, he did not exactly say THAT, but he is close. Click the link above to see what he REALLY says.

It’s time to call Agile what it is: it’s a culture hack. The values, the principles, the practices,  and processes are all a bundle of culture hacking tools. The harsh reality of software development has spawned a bottom-up revolution in how we think about working. In teams.

Agile is a culture hack. With Agile, we can create a Learning Organization.

And what exactly is a Learning Organization? According to Wikipedia,

A learning organization is the term given to a company that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself. Learning organizations develop as a result of the pressures facing modern organizations and enables them to remain competitive in the business environment. A learning organization has five main features; systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision and team learning.”

Organizations do not organically develop into learning organizations; there are factors prompting their change. As organizations grow, they lose their capacity to learn as company structures and individual thinking becomes rigid.”

We can create a genius from a group of people- if they are willing. We call this genius “a team”. The reason “Agile does not scale” is precisely because becoming a Learning Organization is at best a challenging task. It is also a deeply rewarding one. We all need to wake up: Agile people are culture hackers. We are in the business of creating Learning Organizations. WE. KNOW. HOW. TO. DO. IT.

The broader implications of this are profound. The implications are:

1. Cultural design, culture engineering and culture hacking are in fact better descriptions for what we do than any other description. We Agile folks are in the business of culture. We are culture engineers. We do culture engineering. Culture hacking is one kind of culture engineering.

2. Culture technology exists and can be exploited to create Learning Organizations. My book, THE CULTURE GAME is a culture technology tutorial and reference guide. It is a handbook for culture engineers.

3. In organizations, our work is about reclaiming a cultural garden that is full of cultural weeds. The root word for culture in Latin has many meanings, one of them is ‘to grow’. We are in the business of cultivating certain kinds of growth, and eradicating undesirable growth.

4. Agile methods are culture hacking methods. Agile frameworks are culture hacking frameworks. In the hands of a competent coach and in an organization of willing people, we can and do facilitate genuine cultural movement.


We have an amazing event planned for the Fall. The event is historic and represents a potential turning point in the Agile story. This is the moment when we port Agile up and out of IT, from teams to tribes…and entire organizations.

We have amazing keynotes. Harrison Owen, the father of Open Space,  is the keynote in Philadelphia. Dave Logan, the author of TRIBAL LEADERSHIP, is the keynote in Boston. Both events have amazing speakers like Traci Fenton, CEO of WorldBlu, the worldwide champion of Freedom At Work. We have Ayden Adler, the Exec Director of Orpheus Orchestra, the renowned, self-managed orchestra that has NO CONDUCTOR. We have many noted authorities in the Agile space speaking in breakout sessions.

You can attend in Philly AND Boston, and connect by train. The Agile Train. You can self-manage and self-organize your colleagues and friends to be part of this event with you. We the organizers are chartering a party BUS for speakers, sponsors and organizers, shuttling the whole group from Philly to Boston.

Agile has been struggling to understand itself these past several years. The cat is now out the bag: cultural architecture and design, leading to higher levels of engagement and productivity, is the new normal.

We are culture hackers!

Agile is a culture hack. We are culture hackers. We are culture designers.

We are culture engineers.


Get your ticket for Agile Culture Conference PHILADELPHIA here!

Get your ticket for Agile Culture Conference BOSTON here!