The leap to agile How agile thinking is helping a radical new non-profit

“Agile has revolutionized our work.” –Avi Lewis

I was fortunate enough to recently provide some agile training and facilitation for The Leap, a new non-profit organization dedicated to upending traditional responses to the interlinked crises of climate, inequality and racism. We focused on designing an agile heartbeat / sprint cycle for their work, with a big emphasis on running effective retrospectives at the end of each cycle. Here’s what their co-founder and strategic director, Avi Lewis, had to say about it. 

Avi Lewis. (Photograph by Michael Klein)

Avi writes:

“I admit that I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to how I work. I don’t have a ton of time for retreats, new-age management techniques, or jargon-laden trainings. I’m 27 years into my career — I like to think I at least know how to do the work.

So it was a complete surprise and delight to be schooled by Matt Thompson, and have my eyes opened to the Agile strategy. In a few short video calls and with the help of a couple of Google docs, Matt introduced our team to a whole new way of working. It was revelatory — and his wit, compassion and wisdom made it irresistible. And it is no exaggeration to say that the system to which he introduced us has revolutionized our work. There is simply no other way to put it.

Suddenly, we all have our eye on the big picture, our hands on the discrete piece of it that needs doing today, and a clear view of the straight line connecting the two.

We all know what everyone else is doing, we have deadlines that are transparent, and accountability to each other. We make quick decisions, mostly by consensus. Our meetings are focused and productive and rarely drift. We check in regularly to refine our process, and each week we get better. We are more connected, more cohesive, more effective, and happier. We get more done, and feel better about doing it.

As you can see, I could go on. But I’ve got work to do — and thanks to Matt, a thrillingly effective new way to go about it.”

— Avi Lewis, Journalist, Filmmaker, Strategic Director — The Leap