Gary O'Brien

A Principal Consultant with 20 years experience in ICT and a diverse background as an IT Business Strategist and People Manager. I specialise in helping executives, teams and individuals to adopt and improve Agile methods, principles and practice. Using a strong emphasis on facilitating organizational change, and the role of management and leadership in an Agile world. As an Agile Coach I look to help teams adapt Agile and Lean thinking to their specific environment and impediments they face. Experience includes working with CIO’s and senior leaders to create and execute a vision and strategy for and adopting Agile as an enterprise approach to improving outcomes for delivering customer value and optimising IT.
Gary O'Brien has written 15 posts for Agile By Culture

How ‘Manager’ is Hindering Success

One of the degenerative aspects of corporate culture I have observed is the role of a manager and it’s time to shake it up. Managers must learn new skills and move from a governance and achievement role to one of stewardship and improvement. We have to believe that if we provide the best platform for … Continue reading

Scaling AGILITY – ‘To Do List’

Yep the even greater irony of a second “Agile” to do list… but now I call it “Agility”. Its been a while since I published my first Scaling Agile to do list and I have experienced a lot since then. Some of which validated the original thoughts and some of which changed how I think. … Continue reading

Destination Employer

I have spent the last few months immersing myself in the phenomenon of humanistic organisations. This has involved reading books like Firms of Endearment, attending conferences and in-depth lab sessions with organisations who are adopting more humanistic approaches and having the fortune of spending time working in such organisations observing their culture. Im am left … Continue reading

Agile Leadership Popovich style

I recently had an article given to me by a colleague about the legend Spurs basketball coach Gregg Popovich. In it he was interviewed about his philosophy for building a great team that can respond to change and adapt on its feet. The parallels for me were extreme when I think about the changing paradigm … Continue reading

How to Measure Value

One of the most asked questions I get from clients is “What is value” or “how do we measure value.” Interestingly, in my poll on the Scaling Agile To do List it appeared as a favorite too. What I have learned is that this question’s context is very different from its words. I mean, value … Continue reading

‘Making the numbers’ kills companies

For years managers have methodically set target numbers or budgets and worked tirelessly in a mire of key performance indicators, performance plans, forecasts and motivational speeches in the company wide drive to ‘make the numbers’. Now I am not about to say the numbers are not important or that being financially responsible is not something … Continue reading

Managers Are Not Leaders

A short and sharp post on the weird confusion of leadership. I feel we use the word ‘leaders’ when too often we mean managers. Some managers can be leaders but not all and some don’t want to be. Yet so much time and effort is spent by HR and senior executives on programs to build leaders … Continue reading

Business Agility – Doing the right thing

David Joyce (, @dpjoyce) and I have been reflecting on some of the work we have been doing in large corporate enterprises. Looking at some fo the specific challenges we have had dealing with change on a massive scale and supporting senior leaders and teams to unlearn and relearn new ways of thinking about work moving … Continue reading

Scaling Agile – ‘To Do List’

Yep the irony of an “Agile” to do list… anyway. I have been reflecting on my last few years involved in Agile at scale and some of the things we have had to address or have learnt we will need to address at some point in order to successfully navigate change across such a large … Continue reading

The Impact of Budgets on Scaling Agile

I am forever learning and experiencing examples of how much impact budgets have on agile at scale. Whilst it is behavioural it is not something I attribute to individuals or a resistance to doing the right thing. It is a contraint that traditional thinking places on Managers in the way their success and performance in running their … Continue reading