Agile Boston Leadership & Governance

Agile Boston has a vision, mission and set of supporting values. These statements of intent and supporting core values create a basic set of understandings about who we are and what we are here to do. We use these statements of intent and corresponding core values to guide plans and decision-making.


Structure must be able to scale up AND down as needed. Decisions must be made without delay; consistent with wise decision-making. A bias toward action tends to create at least the potential for great results. Community activities can be predictable and orderly at one extreme, and unpredictable and chaotic at the other. Given this reality, we assemble a toolbox and we implement it. This set of structural tools allows us to optimize on relationship and connection … with the ability to rapidly respond to change,  as we execute on our stated intent to: innovate as we help raise the level of Agility in Greater Boston.

Here are the tools we use to structure our work, listing from widest to narrowest scope:

  • Sociocracy– a governance structure based on consent, circles and double-linking.
  • Scrum– One way to do work in teams
  • The Core Protocols– Structured Interactions for team greatness


Sociocracy: We use sociocracy for defining leadership relationships, roles, and related interactions. Sociocracy is a governance structure optimized on relationships. The assumption is that respectful relations lead to greater decisions and results aligned with intentions, or ‘aim’. Sociocracy provides rules for elections, making decisions, and acting. The case history of sociocracy includes scaling to very large structures of several thousand people. The Agile Boston Leadership Circle implements the canonical sociocracy structure. John Buck and Sharon Villines are the authors of WE THE PEOPLE, the definitive sociocracy guide.

See Sociocracy and We The People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy


Scrum: Sociocracy supports any practice that is in alignment with sociocratic principles. Scrum is aligned with and supports sociocracy, and vice-versa. We therefore include Scrum in our toolbox for executing on authorized work. Scrum features are used to varying degrees based on the aims of the people doing the work. We Agile folks are familar with Scrum principles and therefore find them an easy fit when executing on tasks like executing community meetings, larger events and the like. The Leadership Circle uses Scrum as needed. It is important to note that Scrum is one of several available ways to organize, consistent with the principles of sociocracy. Any useful tool or framework in alignment with sociocratic principles qualifies for consideration and possible use when doing work. Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber are the stewards of the canonical Scrum standard.

See Scrum Guide and Scrum Values. Agile Boston core values derive from Scrum’s 5-value set. See Scrum Values for more detail on this.


Core Protocols: The Core Protocols are formalized, interpersonal interaction patterns that tend to associate with genuine team greatness. Scrum and sociocracy alike support self-organization of teams. Self-organizing includes defining ways of engaging in dialogue, reflecting, deciding and the like. Other important interactions that great teams must address include asking for help, sending and receiving feedback, and developing interpersonal alignments. The Core Protocols from Jim and Michele McCarthy provide guidance and structure for these tasks.

We use the Core Protocols to help create a bias toward action. When we are struck, we evoke the Core and use it to get movement. The Core Protocols are 11 core interactions based upon 11 (hard) core commitments.

See the Core Commitments, The Core Protocols, and the web site of McCarthy Technologies.

The formulators of these important social technologies, Jim and Michele McCarthy, periodically post important podcasts and blog entries here.



Agile Boston Leadership Circle

The circle is composed of members who have demonstrated and invested substantial effort and energy in service to the wide Agile community located in the Greater Boston region. Additional circle members are elected by consent. Consent here is the sociocratic definition of that term. You may learn more about sociocratic consent here.

The Agile Boston Leadership Circle’s aim is to ensure all activities of Agile Boston are aligned with the stated intent of the group as articulated by the vision, mission and core values.


Current Agile Boston Leadership Circle Members Include:

Karen Spencer

Karen Favazza Spencer is an Agile Coach and Scrum Master living on the Boston North Shore. Karen has also held the corporate roles of Project Lead, Business Analyst and Business Manager. She has a background in Education and Psychology and a Masters degree in the Learning Process from Lesley College. An energetic and up-beat person, Karen maintains a strong user perspective and consultative focus when working with teams. She is known for her ability to clearly communicate complexity to both technical and non-technical audiences. Karen strives to “make it easy” for her associates with an attitude of shared ownership. She coaches teams in behaviors that strengthen collaboration and capture complex conversations with paper models that literally, as well as metaphorically, get teams on the “same page.”
Follow Karen on Twitter:!/Seabreezes1


Dan LeFebvre

Dan LeFebvre is the founder of DCL Agility, LLC, a provider of agile and Scrum coaching, training, and transition services. He is the first Certified Scrum Coach in New England with over twenty years in software product development as a developer, manager, director, and coach. He has been applying agile practices to successfully deliver products since 2003.

Dan spent two years as the internal agile coach for Kronos, a Boston-based software company, where he coordinated and implemented Scrum within the 700 person engineering organization across all sites including Massachusetts, Atlanta, Chicago, Oregon, Montreal, British Columbia, Belgium and India. This resulted in increased visibility into the development process and a reduction in defects by 60% in 18 months.


Don Blair

Don BlairWith a passion for building high-energy, high-performance teams, Don led the adoption of agile for a pilot project with 40 developers at Cisco Systems.   Following the successful completion of the project, he worked with the leadership team in extending agile to the entire business unit spanning 6 products, 30 scrum teams and 200 engineers. Business grew by 28% and customer satisfaction reached an all-time high during this time, even while employee morale rose 10% as measured by an annual corporate employee survey.  Inspired to use his talents to benefit the larger Boston business community, Don now works as an independent agile trainer and coach. Reach Don via LinkedIn.


Ralph Fink

Ralph is an Open Space facilitator who has studied under Harrison Owen and facilitated Open Space events for Agile Boston, Sikorsky Aircraft, and many commercial and non-profit organizations. Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership, Ralph is a Product Development Technical Lead at Sikorsky Aircraft. Ralph provides technical direction and development expertise for ground-based information systems and leads Agile adoption efforts at the company.

Ralph has 25 years of software development experience and is a distinguished graduate of Temple University (BSEE) and Drexel University (MSEE). Ralph’s interest are diverse and include attending Group Relations conferences as well as mountaineering seminars and events.

Ralph is an avid outdoorsman and hike leader for the Appalachian Mountain Club. Ralph holds a Wilderness First Aid certificate and is an expert in four-season backpacking. By being close to nature, Ralph believes in the development of the human potential.


Dan Mezick

Dan Mezick smallDan is a coach and trusted advisor to executives, project sponsors, managers and teams developing complex products using Agile and Scrum. Dan’s firm New Technology Solutions, Inc. delivers Agile training, execuitve coaching and consulting to businesses of all sizes. Clients include Zappos Insights, Orpheus Orchestra, CIGNA, The Hartford Insurance companies, SUNGARD Financial. Siemens Corporation, Sikorsky Aircraft and dozens of mid-market organizations. Read his Blog, follow him on Twitter, see or connect or email at dan [at] newtechusa [dot] net.


Leadership Entry Points

Additional Leadership Circle members are elected as needed from the ranks for Volunteers. Agile Boston Volunteers must first signal a clear understanding of the group’s core values and consent to aligning with them. Alignment in this context means applying the core values consistently, as guidance, when executing authorized tasks as a person occupying a Agile Boston Volunteer role.

Questions? Contact Us.