© 2019

Great Big Agile

An OS for Agile Leaders


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. The Agile Performance Holarchy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 3-17
  3. The Performance Circles

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 21-40
    3. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 41-53
    4. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 55-68
    5. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 69-84
    6. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 85-95
    7. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 97-108
  4. Ceremonies and Techniques

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 109-109
    2. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 111-112
    3. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 113-115
    4. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 117-118
    5. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 119-120
    6. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 121-122
    7. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 123-125
    8. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 127-128
    9. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 129-131
    10. Jeff Dalton
      Pages 133-134

About this book


Big Agile leaders need an empirical, "high-trust" model that provides guidance for scaling and sustaining agility and capability throughout a modern technology organization. This book presents the Agile Performance Holarchy (APH)—a "how-ability" model that provides agile leaders and teams with an operating system to build, evaluate, and sustain great agile habits and behaviors. The APH is an organizational operating system based on a set of interdependent, self-organizing circles, or holons, that reflect the empirical, object-oriented nature of agility.

As more companies seek the benefits of Agile within and beyond IT, agile leaders need to build and sustain capability while scaling agility—no easy task—and they need to succeed without introducing unnecessary process and overhead. The APH is drawn from lessons learned while observing and assessing hundreds of agile companies and teams.

It is not a process or a hierarchy, but a holarchy, a series of performance circles with embedded and interdependent holons that reflect the behaviors of high-performing agile organizations. The Agile Performance Holarchy provides implementation guidance in the areas of leadership, values, teaming, visioning, governing, building, supporting, and engaging within an all-agile organization.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Model the behaviors of a high-performance agile organization
  • Benefit from lessons learned by other organizations that have succeeded with Big Agile
  • Assess your level of agility with the Agile Performance Holarchy
  • Apply the APH model to your business
  • Understand the APH performance circles, holons, objectives, and actions
  • Obtain certification for your company, organization, or agency


Agile Agile solutions Agility Holarchy Agile performance holarchy APH Performance Holons Performance circles CMMI Leadership Teaming Visioning Jeff Dalton

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.WaterfordUSA

About the authors

Jeff Dalton thinks the future of Big Agile is our industry’s biggest challenge, and he has been studying it for years. As the large adopters in the federal government and corporate sector begin to adopt agile, they will bring their habits, culture, and bureaucracies with them, and in dozens of podcasts, articles, books, and keynote speeches Jeff has been talking about getting in front of the wave. A veteran technologist and IT leader, Jeff started as a software developer and has been a CEO, chief technology executive, vice president of product development, director of quality, and Agile evangelist for over 30 years, including time with Ernst and Young, Electronic Data Systems, Hewlett Packard, Intellicorp, Polk, Broadsword, and AgileCxO. As a consultant, teacher, CMMI lead appraiser, and leadership coach, he has worked with NASA, Boeing, Accenture, Bose, L3 Communications, Fiat Chrysler Automotive, General Motors, Ford, and various federal and state agencies to help them improve performance. Jeff is a frequent keynote speaker, Agile performance holarchy assessor, blogger, and host of The Agile Leadership Podcast, a monthly series that interviews CIOs from state government about the challenges of agile adoption. In his spare time he is an instrument-rated pilot and plays bass in a jazz band.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
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IT & Software
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Finance, Business & Banking
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