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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Dec 2, 2022

This week, Dan Neumann is delighted to be joined by a new guest, James Shore, the author of The Art of Agile Development and co-creator of the Agile Fluency Project with Diana Larsen. His contribution is invaluable to the Agile field.


In this episode, James talks about the second edition of The Art of Agile Development, which was published in 2021. This edition is a fully rewritten version that shows the influence of the Agile Fluency Model, including the different zones Agile Teams can occupy, such as Focusing, Delivering, Optimizing, and Strengthening, and practices for Teams to become fluent in each area.


Key Takeaways

James rewrote The Art of Agile Development for its second edition.

He rewrote the book around the ideas of the Agile Fluency Model.

It includes updated practices.

In the book, you can find out how to influence people to make a change, to try Agile ideas, and even advice when you are in a situation where you are not very Agile.

What is the Agile Fluency Model?

There are four different zones that teams or organizations can occupy: Focusing, Delivering, Optimizing, and Strengthening. A Team can exhibit fluency in any of these zones.

A behavior is fluent when you can perform it unconsciously, naturally, as a default behavior.

A Team can demonstrate fluency but only the Organization can make it possible.

It is not a maturity model, you can be fluent in one of the zones and not the others.

The Agile Goal:

For many organizations, it may be Focusing plus Delivering together.

James talks about the structure of the book.

The first part of the book is about how to introduce Agile ideas.

Most of the book is about the practices for the Focus and the Delivery zone.

Alternatives and experiences can be found at the end of every practice.

Learn the rules, break the rules, and then, ignore the rules.

After learning the rules you have to experiment because every Agile Team goes through a unique situation and process.

How long does it take to achieve a level of fluency?

It takes time to become fluent.

In general, it takes two to six months to reach Focusing fluency. Have under consideration that there is a one-to-four-month period of decrease in performance while people learn.

During two to six months, performance will be affected while trying to reach fluency in Delivering in an expected period from three to 20 months.

When Optimizing fluency it takes one to two months of performance affectedness and three to nine months for reaching fluency in this area.

It takes one or two years to deliver reliably.

All these time frames overlap.


Mentioned in this Episode:

Follow James Shore.

Check the second edition of The Art of Agile Development.

Agile Fluency Project

FAST Agile


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