The WholeAgile Approach

The WholeAgile approach is aimed at spreading Self-organized / decentralized teams as well as Agile, Lean Startup and Design Thinking ways of working within organizations throughout 2 integrated paradigms :

  • Whole : as it integrates principles of self-organised / decentralized collectives as well as Co-operation-based governance and management models like Holacracy, Sociocracy 3.0 and Management 3.0 and scale up to an entire organization
  • Agile with a capital A : as it encompasses Agile / Scrum ways of conducting projects as well as Lean Startup and Design Thinking ways of developing solutions

The WholeAgile approach is an adaptive framework that can be implemented in any type of organization by focusing on both Doing Agile and Being Agile.


Inspired from M.Sahota
Inspired from M.Sahota


At the level of Product / Solution Discovery

The WholeAgile approach relies on Design Thinking (Empathy-Define-Explore-Test-Prototype), Lean Startup and the 10 Types of Innovation Framework while focusing on 2 main objectives :


1. Staying Relevant to Customers / Users by Understanding What They Really Need

  • Putting oneself in the customer / user shoes and empathizing
  • Understand how customers / users actually use products / solutions to tap into their pain points / expected gains
  • Understand customer / user behavior in order to gear products / solutions that make them desirable
  • Create a story customers / users can connect with.

Tools : Value Proposition Canvas / User Experience - Customer Journey Maps / Personas


2. Product / Solution Discovery

Product / Solution Discovery must help teams validate whether the product / solution is feasible, usable, and valuable.

  • Feasible: Development team must be capable of building it.
  • Usable: customers must be able to use it.
  • Valuable / Lovable : the product itself must deliver value to customers, so they want to buy it.

Performing an Minimal Viable Product / Solution (MVP / MVS) exercise is key to delivering successful products / solutions. This allows teams to explore the product / solution feasibility and help them to decide which features to cut and which to leave in. Once a minimal product / solution is chalked out, a prototype can be built and tested with actual users to validate if it is usable and valuable.


Tools : Pretotyping & Prototyping / RAT = Riskiest Assumptions Tests / Lean or Business Model Canvas / Minimal Viable Product / 10 Types of Innovation Framework / Build-Measure-Learn iteration cycle


At the level of Product / Solution Development & Deployment

The WholeAgile approach has adapted* Jeff Sutherland’s Scrum practices to non-IT worlds. The Scrum framework is the most advanced and concrete translation of Agile principles.

* “Adapted” means that Scrum methods, processes and tools have been updated to fit with non-IT sectors and their variable business and operational environments.


It includes :

  • Solution Vision & Roadmapping,
  • Scrum Sprint components (User Stories, Backlog Refinement, Sprint planning, StandUp meeting, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective)
  • DevOps components associating people who develop solutions and people in charge of operations

At the level of Management practices

The WholeAgile approach introduces breakthrough ways of working and management by combining : 

  • Scrum roles and accountabilities : scrum master, product owner, development teams
  • WholeAgile@Scale scales up practices to the entire organization : Scrum of Scrums (SoS), Executive Action Teams (EAT) & Executive Meta Scrum (EMS), Large Scale Scrum (LeSS)
  • Management 3.0 ( )
  • Sociocracy 3.0 ( )
  • Holacracy ( )
  • Principles of decentralized teams (Bartlett)

Objective : Set up governance & processes supporting interdependent & self-organized teams where members deploy their full potential.


Tools : self-organization processes, integrative / consent-based decision making, advice process, delegation poker, task / planning poker, daily/weekly StandUps, retrospectives, Kanban boards, strategic, governance and tactical meetings.


Last but not least, the WholeAgile approach takes particular care to change management and transition aspects as the introduction of such practices has an impact on organizations' DNA (culture, management, behaviours) 


Agile teams produce a continuous stream of value to customers / users , at a sustainable pace, while swiftly adapting to the changing needs of the business.

Elisabeth Hendrickson