Session type:

Session duration:
100 minutes

Presented by:

Laz Allen


Charlie Pank


About this Tutorial

A tutorial based on the techniques from Art of Action by Stephen Bungay, as taught and applied at Skyscanner, an agile organisation of aligned and autonomous squads made up of over 1000 people in 11 offices in 6 timezones.

Leading at scale is hard, really hard. Mainly because reality and human endeavour get in the way; it's hard to create great plans with partial information, then getting dozens or hundreds of people to turn those plans into the right actions is harder, then their actions don't produce the expected results. This is not a new problem - in fact, it's a monumentally old one.

Thankfully, there are some tried and tested solutions too. In this tutorial we'll examine the environment that produces these effects. We'll look specifically at what military leaders have been doing for centuries to counter them, as we explore a long-kept secret; the Prussian military solved agile at scale 200 years ago - they had to.

Based on the seminal Art of Action by Stephen Bungay, this interactive session will take you through the material and look at how to apply it to your organisation. The rest will be up to you!

This tutorial is aimed at leaders at all levels. By the end, you will be able to:

  • identify instances of the 3 gaps causing plans to fail
  • apply tested principles to bridging those gaps
  • deploy strategy via a briefing and back briefing in line with these principles
  • empower people to perform using all their unique creative skills

*Please note: this session runs 10 minutes into lunch, finishing at 12:45.

About the Speakers

Laz Allen

Laz Allen is an agile coach at Skyscanner. He started out running a start-up, where he discovered agile and scrum from Henrik Kniberg's seminal Scrum in the Trenches. The smallest of budgets and shortest of timescales gave Laz a passion for seeking effectiveness and focus.

At Skyscanner he has a wide remit, working with many squads across the company's tribes and offices to drive that effectiveness and focus. With Jason and Charlie, he led the adoption of Directed Opportunism and applied it with sucess.

Outside of work, he's figuring out how best to introduce his two small boys to WIP limits.


Charlie Pank

Charlie is a principal engineer at Skyscanner who has concluded that he serves the organisation better by helping others to work effectively rather than by writing code himself.

He currently leads 3 squads working on Skyscanner's Direct Booking product, trying to apply the behaviours and methods of Directed Opportunism. He wants Skyscanner to work as a collection of autonomous units aligned on goals, which is why he co-authored and delivered the Leadership at Scale course to most of the company’s leaders - including the CEO, and most people in leadership roles.

In another life he is a father of 2, Pilates instructor, cyclist and international yacht skipper. He is unaccustomed to writing about himself in the 3rd person.

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