“Why Agile makes people nervous? Because of the lack of trust.”

Adding three new SPCT certified trainers to the roster, Gladwell Academy
consolidates its leading position as SAFe training agency. In our last blog we asked SPCT candidate Niels Groen to give us his views on becoming certified. For this article, fellow candidate Andres Jansen (SPCT) tells us how he experiences his candidacy so far. “I was asked to present my theory before an audience of fellows right the next day.”


“There’s a so-called immersion week in Boulder, The United States, where all candidates come together. During this intense week, they show their readiness and receive feedback and training from the leaders of the Scaled Agile Framework. Each candidate is asked to present a ‘lightning talk’ to a large audience, based on their own insights and experiences with Agile. The founder of the framework, Dean Leffingwell, also attends those presentations, making it a bit similar to ‘explaining the Bible to the Pope’. An honor, and something to get more than a little anxious for. “I think I did okay, not in the last part because Dean asked me to present my story again the next day, as part of a SPC course delivered by Dean and a SAFe Fellow Inbar Oren.”


“It’s nice when a piece of knowledge inspires you so much, it fires your brain, it gets you thinking. I presented my own theory about trust and its relationship with Agile. I can do a quick once-over here if you like? It’s based on my own scientific research, but it’s easily explained.”


“There are two major types of trust which we can use to influence each other. The first kind is the credibility imparted by formal documents, calculations on spreadsheets, accreditations and degrees. That kind I call calculative trust. You can reason with it. It’s measurable. It may be false, but when it is, you can hunt the source of your mistaken judgement fairly accurately.”


“The second kind is what I call relational trust: trust based on personal interactions, shared values and shared experiences. It’s fickle, it’s hard to define – it’s also closely related to the charm that con-men use to dupe their victims. So here too, you can make mistakes – but when it works, it works very fast and light-weight, giving you a solid base to strike out from.”


“These two currencies of trust are both valuable but for different purposes. The world of big corporates was long relying on working mostly with calculative trust, because people are fleeting – they come and go. Numbers don´t lie, paper stays, that sort of thing. Then came Agile and re-introduced the importance of relational trust: a preference for it, even.”


“Consider these principles, right there in the Manifesto:

  • individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
  • working software over comprehensive documentation;
  • customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
  • responding to change over following a plan…

It’s relational trust over calculative trust, every single time. No wonder the transition to Agile makes people nervous – they’re being asked to put their faith in other people again! What can we expect from a manager or controller who think and act in a world that’s based on calculative trust and the classic controls that come with it?”


“Despite good intentions, a lot of consultants and Agile coaches are missing this paradigm-shift. Agile frameworks are trust-based systems! And, in many cases we lost a lot of trust, not knowing the root-cause of it, let aside how to fix it. Leading to the situation we have right now in almost every large organization that is working with Agile practices now for a couple of years: misalignment and frustration between the Agile development and the Classic Controls.”


“Well, many of those who were present saw truth to my story, which made me quite happy of course. I am looking forward, once I have my SPCT certification, to inspiring others, to fire up their brains and making them think. In my opinion it’s the best effect a trainer can have.”



RTE Summit is slowly becoming a ‘must-visit’ for the many RTEs out there that are willing to learn, to share and to invest in the RTE platform.
The seats are filling up fast, 
reserve your ticket today at rte-summit.com!

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