Jonathan Smart

Jonathan Smart

Jon leads Deloitte’s UK Business Agility practice, helping organizations deliver Better Value Sooner Safer Happier.

Previously, Jon led Ways of Working globally across Barclays Bank, which is 328 years old, with 80,000 colleagues in 40 countries. After three years, teams were on average delivering three times as much in a third of the time with 23x fewer production incidents and the highest ever employee engagement scores.

Jon has been an agile practitioner since the early 1990s, is the Enterprise Agility Leaders Network founder, is a member of the Business Agility Institute advisory council and is a guest speaker at London Business School.


Milestones mark miles. They are made of stone. They are hard to move and are no longer valid once moved. They don’t exhibit agility, nor do they need to. They resemble tombstones and are often referred to as ‘dead-lines’, or ‘drop dead’ dates.
They don’t convey any expectations on why you want to get to where you’re going, how you might get there, how else you might get there, if you’ll make it there at all (the level of safety en-route), the quality and experience of your journey nor if it’s even the right destination, given your intent.


Traditional organisations need to adopt new ways of working in order to survive and thrive, to leverage the on-demand compute, information and communication power which is in the cloud and in our pockets, to keep up with competitors and challengers, and to delight customers. Today, for complex knowledge work, many are still applying a management model from the early 1900s optimised for manual labour in factories.


It was a Saturday morning. I was standing in line at a coffee shop, thinking about flow, as I often find myself doing when waiting in line. I reached for my phone to pass the time (while stuck behind a constraint in the cafe’s system of work) and sent the tweet above. This tweet went, relatively-speaking for me, viral, breaking in to triple digits of likes and retweets. It seems to have struck a chord.

If you want to do an Agile Transformation, don’t. Focus on Flow, Quality, Happiness, safety & Value and you will end up transforming to have agility

Want to scale agile? Don’t. Descale the work first. Achieve big through small.


We are in the midst of a Turning Point in a 50 year cycle, in the Age of Digital, as well articulated by Carlota Perez in ‘Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital’. At the time of writing, seven of the top ten firms by market capitalisation are technology companies. Less than two months ago, on 26th June 2018, General Electric, the last remaining original constituent of the Dow Jones index which was created in 1896, left the index, as it was contributing less than half a percent.

About Best Agile Articles Project

Best Agile Articles is a collaborative project of the Agile community to bring you the best of the best publications each year. Our goal in publishing these yearly editions is to cull through the many articles that are published each year and provide you with a curated set of high-quality articles that capture the latest knowledge and experience of the agile community in one compact volume.
Our purpose is twofold. First, we understand that it’s hard to figure out where to go when looking for ideas and answers. There are thousands of blogs, videos, books and other resources available at the click of a mouse. But that can be a lot to sort through. So, we thought we could be of some help. Second, we wanted to bring some visibility to many people who are doing outstanding work in this field and are providing helpful resources. We hope that this publication will help them connect to you, the ones they are writing for.
Our intention is that this publication is to be by the agile community as a service to the agile community and for the agile community. With that in mind, we pulled together a great group of volunteers to help get this work into your hands.

The articles in this volume were selected by:
• A diverse Volunteer Committee of sixteen people with expertise in a variety of areas related to agile.
• The agile community. A call for article nominations went out in early 2020 and several dozen 2019 articles were nominated by the community.

The articles themselves cover a wide variety of topics including organizational structure, culture, and agile leadership. There is something for almost everyone here. All editions of the Best Agile Articles publication are available on Amazon and free to download on the Best Agile Article site.
We are thankful for the great participation by the agile community at large. If you would like to participate in delivering this publication in future years, we would welcome hearing from you.

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