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Radical Scaling Approach FAST-Agile Delivers

  • Start Date: Monday, November 9 2020
  • Start Time: 6:00 pm PST
Location: Virtual

Enterprise Agile San Francisco Bay Area presents sessions like this every month - and for now, they are virtual, so you can join anywhere. RSVP on Meetup to receive a link to join.

Many of us have attended Agile Open or some other conference based on self-organizing “Open Space” principles. Meanwhile, we in Agile have long espoused self-organizing teams. We know the value of planning yet struggle with meetings that run too long in an attempt to make two-week sprints predictable. We shudder at the notion of developers self-selecting onto teams - how long do we have to go if they get it wrong? Yet the teams we’ve got aren’t “right."

All those things were rolling around Ron Quartel’s brain when he had a flash of insight:

What if an organization applied Open Space to self-organizing and self-selection at the pace of a two-day conference?

What if an organization’s developers and testers self-selected into teams - every two days - to make two solid days of visible progress on the organization’s most critical needs?

What if the organization willing to try it were one of the oldest insurance companies in the world?

What if it worked?

Ron and partner Paige Watson will map out how what came to be known as FAST-Agile works - and worked in their two-year seemingly-staid-company trial. You will hear the theory of the science behind the system as well as real life stories.

To give you a taste of the practices: Get all the teams and people who are on a project/product together and call them a tribe. Use Open Space to dip into chaos long enough for the natural order to ensue. Provide just enough structure to enable people to self-select and form teams around work. Do away with the notion of trying to control who should work on what, and when. Don’t bother to even attempt to plan your way through dependencies, but instead rely on natural leadership, self-organization, natural order, and emergence to handle these complex issues.

Instead of going down the complicated path to solve a complex challenge, as every other scaling model has done, FAST Agile leverages complexity and chaos theory itself. Ron sometimes calls this pattern “choreography over orchestration.”


Ron Quartel tells us his life mission is to untether the human spirit in the workplace. The reinventing work movement is strongly aligned with this mission so you will run across Ron speaking on various topics to this theme. He is mostly known for crafting the Fluid Scaling Technology framework, sometimes called FaST or FAST Agile (when used in the context for agile scaling). The framework is built on Open Space Technology and is essentially an enabler for new self-organizing ways of working and being agile. Ron’s background is grounded in Agile since 2002, and software development since he was a teen. He is an acclaimed speaker known for his passionate keynotes mapping out next phase organizations, ways of working, and agility.

Paige Watson understands the need for quality software craft practices from more than 25 years of coding professionally. Software creation is a complex endeavor that requires great minds to think about not only solving problems but also how to create easy maintainability and extensibility. Paige teaches teams not only practices to create well-crafted software but processes for maturing into high-performing teams. He believes in and evangelizes quality craft practices like TDD, pair and mob programming, dynamic reteaming, and self-selection of work. Along with practicing what he preaches as a developer, Paige runs the Seattle Software Crafters meetup, mentors developers, and is a founder of the Software Professionals Internal Conference.