David Michel


Agile Teams (B) 2019
Agile Teams (B)
Thursday 15.15 - 16.00

Session type: Lecture
Session level: Intermediate

How evolutionary psychology validates the Agile mindset

Session slideshow

The workplace is full of individuals with vastly different personalities, and although it can be greatly beneficial for a team to have a diverse set of personality traits, it can also be a struggle when those clashes to a point where the team cannot pull together. Developing software is a social enterprise and Agile has brought about many great techniques and tools to work better together, but some concepts such as “fail fast, fail often” or “just in time planning” can be challenging for certain personality types to fully endorsed. Similarly, many every day Agile practices rely on high level of extraversion. But what happens to those who are rather introverted and do not quite fit with the culture shift that Agile brought to the workplace?

In this multidisciplinary talk, we will draw from personality psychology and evolutionary biology to shed some lights into why we behave the way we do and why the agile mindset might be either easier or harder to adopt for certain personality types. We’ll also investigate how the balance between planning ahead and embracing uncertainty has deep biological roots into how we evolved as a species, and how this influences how we ought to shape software development projects to be aligned with our psychological substructure as human beings. Finally, we’ll cover a few strategies we can apply to help us deal with stress and how we can improve the way we learn and reduce risks in agile projects to build the “right thing” as well as the “thing right”.


David is a biophysical chemist by training who has been working in the software development industry for the last 10 years. During that time working for Tessella in Oxford, David has been in many different roles from software developer, scrum master, to product owner as well as innovation and Agile coach.

As a fervent advocate of Agile approaches and knowledge sharing, David has been leading a thriving Agile community of practice at Tessella and coaching Agile and lean approaches for many projects and clients. He is also a regular speaker and contributor at the Agile Oxfordshire Meetup group.


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