Who do you think is one of the most powerful thought leaders in the world of Agile, and why? 

Today, I want to let you in on my thinking when it comes to powerful thought leaders in the world of Agile and why.  🤔

I’m actually going to step away from the beaten path of Agile for a change and delve into the minds of two extraordinary thought leaders who, while not necessarily Agile practitioners themselves, in my view, have left a profound impact on our Agile world.

Spotlight on Unconventional Thought Influencers in Agile

The world of Agile is home to many incredible thinkers and practitioners. Still, if you ask me to spotlight just one, I’d be inclined to talk about a few figures who aren’t traditionally associated with Agile.  🌐

Before I do, however, I want to mention that I find the phrase ‘thought leader’ a tad problematic. 🤷‍♂️


This phrase suggests a hierarchy of ideas where one person thinks and others follow. In a vibrant, dynamic field like Agile, everyone should be encouraged to think, question and innovate.

Lessons From Unlikely Sources

Two authors who stand out for me are David Marquet and Stephen Bungay. David Marquet’s book ‘Turn The Ship Around’ details his transformative leadership experience as a Captain in the American Navy, navigating the USS Santa Fe. 🌟

His approach focused on enabling agency in those around him and fostering an environment where everyone is actively engaged and thinking. His work offers profound lessons for Agile practitioners, particularly those navigating complex organisational landscapes.

Stephen Bungay’s ‘The Art of Action’ is another treasure trove of insights. Bungay explores the evolution of command and leadership in the military and how it translates into today’s work world. His book provides simple, powerful solutions to complex organisational questions like ‘How do we get hundreds, if not thousands, of intelligent people, pulling in the same direction?’

Here are a few key takeaways from thinking about influential thought leaders in the Agile world:

  • Leaders in organisations at all levels can adopt an approach that enables agency and creativity.
  • We must create environments where passions can flourish and initiative is encouraged.
  • The old-fashioned way of telling people what to do is counterproductive. A new approach is required, one that is about guiding, facilitating, and supporting.

Why Should You Stay Open to Insights?

As Agile practitioners, staying open to insights from all fields and sources is essential. These authors offer invaluable perspectives, whether we’re trying to improve our leadership style, facilitate a smoother Agile transformation, or simply gain a deeper understanding of Agile principles. 👥

Are you interested in learning more about Agile and Scrum?

I invite you to join one of my courses, where we delve into these topics and many more.

You’ll come away with a broader perspective, practical tools, and strategies to navigate your Agile journey.

Remember, the Agile world is full of thought leaders. 💡

If you are interested in becoming an agile coach and value mentored, coach-driven skills development in your journey to mastery, visit our Growing Agile Coaches page.

If you are inspired by the idea of an online apprenticeship for a scrum master, visit https://www.agilesuccess.academy/courses/growing-scrum-masters-advanced

If you like the idea of becoming a scrum master and want to achieve internationally recognised and certified accreditation as a scrum master, visit our Certified Scrum Master (CSM) course page.

If you are already a scrum master and want to upskill to a more advanced level of knowledge and agile coaching capability, visit our Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) course page.

If you have several years’ experience as a scrum master and want to validate and certify your professional skills, visit our Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master (CSP-SM) course page.

For more information on John McFadyen, visit https://www.growingscrummasters.com or connect with John on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnmcfadyen/.

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Keywords: David Marque, Stephen Bungay, Agile Leadership, Influential Thought Leaders

Hashtags: #AgileLeadership #ThoughtLeadership #AgileTransformation #ScrumMaster


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author avatar
John McFadyen Managing Partner
John McFadyen is an Executive and Enterprise Agile Coach with proven experience working on some of the UK and Europe’s largest, most complex Agile Transformations. As a Certified Scrum Trainer, John brings a wealth of experience as an Agile coach, Agile practitioner and software developer into each of the four core courses he provides. The war stories, the insights into successful Agile transformations and everything he has learned from coaching high-performance Agile teams combine to provide course delegates with a unique, compelling training experience that transforms as much as it empowers.

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