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Tuesday, March 23 • 10:15am - 11:00am
Applying Family Systems Theory to Agile Frameworks to Create Healthy Emotional Systems at Work

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As Agile practitioners, haven’t we all seen that some portions of our work seems to be more therapy than anything else? It turns out that there may be a very specific reason for that.

Family Systems Theory / Bowen Theory, originally developed by Dr. Murray Bowen in the 1950’s, is a theory of human behavior that views the family as an emotional unit. Recognizing that the members of a family are connected emotionally, systems thinking can describe how those connections reveal themselves in our lives. In part, it states that anxiety in one individual will reverberate through their relationships and that other individuals in their emotional system will be impacted by that anxiety in some way. If not handled properly by the individuals, the anxiety in the system will continue to grow and will impact the interactions of all of the individuals in the system.

Over my career, I have certainly seen many instances of how teams are connected in this type of emotional system, which is actually predicted by the theory. Because Agile principles correlate so well with this theory, I have developed a deeper appreciation for the real world applications of Agile. Also, since both rely on systems thinking as a foundation, there are opportunities to leverage this counseling model in working with Agile teams. I find that studying this theory has given me access to a whole new area of potential interventions when working with teams and helps me to be a better Scrum Master and coach.

In this talk, I will explain the foundational concepts of Family Systems Theory, how these ideas connect to specific concepts in Agile, and how Scrum Masters and Agile coaches can be more purposeful in creating a healthy emotional system within a team and an organization.

avatar for Bill Scanlon

Bill Scanlon

First Citizens Bank
Over the past seven years, I have used Agile with a variety of organizations and teams. With nearly 25 years of experience in IT projects, I have come to appreciate how different this mindset is from traditional ways of working. I have personally seen how these frameworks can create... Read More →

Tuesday March 23, 2021 10:15am - 11:00am EDT
Zoom 6