How much are true stories relevant for you? Does it matter?

And why are we willing to accept invented ones?

Years ago I start to organize agile events. At our first conference I saw presentation of agile transformation that amazed me. It was so briliantly cool that few weeks later I sit down into my car, and drove to the place to admire for myself. „You know, we are a bit special here“, was the cold welcome I have got. So what is wrong? – I asked. “Well, we tried to do something, we gained some first mini success but soon management banned us to continue, external consultants were fired and we internally are happy we still have our job. Conference presentation was about our plan”. Well, OK, I said, but why did you presented it in past tense as achievement and big success story, if truth is completely elsewhere?

Since that time, until today, I pay way more attention to whether the case is real. There is so many fake presentations at conferences and events these days. Or ones, which are hardly believable, whether they would be true indeed.

Every year I have to screen many proposals for presentations. Once it is a success story of implementation of Scrum into organization. They are all people new to scrum, started just few days or weeks ago, without consulting support or training. And without Scrum Master, as they did not catch the purpose of the role. Another time it is large agile transformation. Let say implementation of agility into 8.000 size company with just 2-3 trainers. It was so huge success that management was amazed and asked to roll out onto whole organization of 40.000+. I will not say who it is. You know them. I also know them personally at several branches. A prototype of anti-agile dinosaur. And it all ends with phenomenal success of transformation of large financial organization from rigid traditional way of doing things, with disengaged people being with company for years or decades, into modern agile organization, with tons of agile people, highly motivated, engaged, and with large performance achievements. Of course beyond IT, too. And all this in just 90 days! With a single coach.

I would like to change this, because I wonder, why such cases are still accepted. Therefore I introduced for our event, Agilia Conference (, a screening program, where presenters are screened and achievements are verified often on site, if we are in doubt.

And I want to ask you. Is it relevant for you? Does it matter to you to see and applaud to fake achievements? Does it inspire you to change? Do you care elaborated success stories aimed at self-promo or another hidden objective? Do you pay attention to stories, which are very suspicious and unlikely to be true? Or why are we willing to accept irrelevant ones? Backed by superficial knowledge of presenters or complete fakes.

Screening program is expensive to run, and very time consuming. Therefore I would like to know your point.



About author: Michal Vallo helps managers to understand agile techniques, benefit from its adoption to their organizations and consequently radically improve organizational overall performance. He is principal, agile trainer, coach and manager at Aguarra, founding member of Agilia community and organizer of Agilia Conference / Agile Management Congress in Olomouc and Agilia Budapest Conference.