Social Good14

SiAgile: The way to include agile in Social Impact

SiAgile: The way to include agile in Social Impact | Rocío Briceño (Cofounder @ Social Impact Agile)

RocíO BriceñO

April 26, 2022


Agile is 21 years old but in 2019 a new manifesto was written with the participation of Alistair Cockburn and Rocío Briceño in Virginia, USA specifically for Development and Social Impact. 

Its first applications have already been used by multilateral organizations. In this conference, Rocío will comment on her application experience in a water problem in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and part of her proposal for an agile government from the Presidential House in her country of origin, Costa Rica.


About the Speaker

Rocio Briceno

International consultant based in Washington DC, USA, Coach, Speaker, and Writer.
Rocío was Vice-President Candidate for Costa Rica country in the last elections in February 2022 with her proposal of an Agile way from the presidency office. Briceño specializes in rescuing projects through Agile. She is co-founder with Alistair Cockburn of SiAgile the way to include Agile in Social Impact. Rocío was SME and Leader of the Agile Methodology of IDB Bank multilateral organization focused on improving lives in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Business Agility Conference 2022 - Photos

Photo of Rocio on stage at Business Agility Conference 2022Photo of Rocio acting silly at Business Agility Conference 2022Photo of Rocio on panel at Business Agility Conference 2022

Video Transcript

My  name  is   Rocío Briceño.

I  happen  to  be  a  computer  engineer,

administrator  as  well,

that  ended  up in  Harvard studying  public  leadership,

and  become Vice President candidate of my country

by  a  phone  call  that  I  just  receive.

That  is  part  of  the  story.

I  am  co-f ounder  of  something  called,

and  I  said  something, because  it's  something.

It's  an  organization, because  when  people  get  together

to  do  something, that is an organization,

but  it  is  called  Social  Impact Agile,

that  actually  is  a  movement

that  I  created with  Alistair Cockburn— of   the writers  of  the  manifesto.

When  we  said, "Why  there  is  not  too many successful

efforts  in  social  impact  projects?"

And  I  said, "It's  because of you, I  blame  you."

You  attached  the  manifesto just  to  software.

When  you  say  software, scrum mastery, user stories.

I blame  as  well  Sutherland  and  the  rest.

How  come  you  want  the  other  people

that  is  not  related to  that  to  understand  that?

So  he  said,  "Well,  let's  fix  it."

So  we  wrote  a  new  manifesto.

That  is  the  Social  Impact  Agile  Manifesto.

After  that,  I  created  the  movement

and  the  organization that  is  Social  Impact  Agile.

So what  we  try  to  do? We  try  to  create  or  make  a  difference.

I  know  when  you have love in your life,

food  in  your  plate,

you  are  beautiful,

you  want  to  improve  the  world.

That  is  the  next  logical thing  to  do,  don't  you?

It  happens  to  you  too,

because  everybody  here,  I  think, have  those  basic  needs  already  solved.

So  the  next  thing  to  do is  to  improve  the  world.

So  we  want  to  make  a  difference.

Of  course,  sometimes make a difference  requires  as  well  money.

We  gathered  together, we're  five  of  us,

and  we  wrote  this  manifesto.

This  is  Alistair,  Gerardo Blizter , myself,  and  two  more  people

that  they say  mentioned  my  name, but  we  are  out  of  the  movement.

We  grow  that  and  we  say, let's  see  what  happens.

So  far  it's  like  self-o rganizing  effort.

We're  still  growing.

There  are  people  all  around  the  world

that  normally  send  me  an  email and  they  said, " I  want  to  join  that."

And  I  said,  "Well,  welcome, what  do  you  want  to  do?"

We  have  some  objectives...

Something  is  happening with the presentation

that  doesn't  show  the  colors.

We  have  five  commitments,

and  those  five  commitments are  referring  to  the  commitments

that  has  to  have  anyone

in  order  to  make a  social  project  using  agile.

Clear  and  share  objectives, beneficiaries  that  are  actively  involved,

because  sometimes  development and  social projects

are  just  made  by  PhD over  there,  somewhere,

thinking  about  people  with  a  need,

but  they  don't  really  feel  that  need.

So  you  have  to  involve those  teams  with  social  passion.

And transparency.

I  will  go  to  one  story, where  I  use  these commitments,

where  we  have  a  really  tough  situation.

I  was  working

in  the  Inter- American  Development  Bank.

I  just  got  hired  by  them  one  day.

They  called  me  and  they  said, "There  is  a  water  shortage."

And  I  was  like, "W ater  shortage?"

"Yeah,  for  the  entire  city."

-"What  city?" -"Tegucigalpa."

Is   one  really  amazing  city in  Central  America.

It's  really  important  city  of  Honduras. It's  the  capital  of  Honduras.

They  happen  to  have  problems with the water supply.

First,  like  one  day  a  week,

later  two  days  a  week,

at  the  end  when  we  have  this  phone  call from  the  president  asking  for  help,

they  just  have  water,  two  days  per  week for  the  entire  city,

so  this  was  a  mess.

If  you  have  been  without water,

you  know  what  I  am  talking  about, especially  if  you  have  kids

or  people  that  are  sick  in  your  house,

or  if  you  have  pets.

That  gets  terrible.

There  is  no  development, there is no business,

there  is  no  nothing if  there  is  no  water.

I  was  in  the  office  that  day,

and  they  said there  is  a  total  city  without  water.

They  want  to  fix  it  using  agile .

And  I  was  like,  "Okay."

You're  expert in  Agile,  don't  you?


So  what  we  say  to  the  President? Okay,  let's  say  that  we  will  do  it.

I  don't  know  how,  but  we  will  do  it.

I  get  a  bunch  of  people

that  are  specialists  in  communications,

because  me  as  an  engineer  by  profession,

I  know  I  need  the  help  from  the  people that are professional in communication,

because  that  is  why they  start their  a  career

in  order  to  become  professional  in  that.

When  you  are  a  leader,

you  have  to  be  a  good  communicator.

But  normally  we  start  to  doing the  plan  or  the  analysis,

or  the  research  and  stuff, and  throw  theories,

and  we  forget  about  the  basics.

And  the  basic is  communicate  with  the  people,

and  get  the  stakeholders  involved.

So when  I  talk  to  the  communicators,

They  said,  "Well,  we  have  to  go  there. That  is  pretty  logical."

So  they  went  over  there, they  went  to  the  Honduras.

They  realized  that  the  population has a lot of construction,

you  can  see  in  the  picture.

But  the  government  didn't  have the  infrastructure  for  the  water  ready

in  order  to  afford the  structures  that  were  building.

And  the  business  were  coming and,  like,  money  talks,

so  they  buy  the  things. They  buy  sometimes  the  permissions.

But  there  is  no  water.

The  most  important  thing that  these  communicators  told  me

is  that  most  of  the  people just  didn't  care.

I  was  like,  "How  come  you don't  care  that  you  have  water?"

No,  they  have  their  own  tanks

that  is  filled  once  a  week  or  something,

but  they  think they  will  have  water  later  on,

because  they  have  money,

and  they  don't  care  about  the  others that  doesn't  have  water.

This  lack  of  awareness

about  what  other  people  need

was  making  this  huge  mess  in  the  city.

I  was  like,  "Okay,  I  know  agile."

I  can  do  design  thinking.

I  can  apply  scrum, I  can  apply  scrum  at  scale.

I  could  apply   Heart of Agile.

I  could  apply,  I  don't  know— mention  what."

But  how  we  can  make  the  people to  care about the other ones,

to  care  about  their  neighbor.

Then  I  collect  another  specialist, because  we  need  a  sociologist.

So  the  sociologist  came.

The  specialist  in  water  came.

The  government

and the multilateral organization,  the  bank,

gave  us  the  money  and  empowerment.

So  money  was  not  a  problem. Empowerment  was  not  a  problem.

We  have  the  blessing  from  the  president,

but  you  have  to  do  a  difference, you  have  to  solve  the  situation.

I  realized  by  myself  will  be  impossible,

so  I  started  a  call

about  50  agile  coaches  in  Latin  America

and  I  received  the  50  ones that  were  able to go with me

to  Tegucigalpa

in  order  to  make  a  boot  camp.

We  reserved  a  whole  hotel.

We  put  400  people over  there  from  several sectors:

private,  public,  education, construction,  infrastructure,

people   from  the  poorest  sector,

people  with  money, with  the  richest  sector  of  the  city.

I  was  making  a  combination with  these  50  agile  coaches,

and  I  said,

"if  you  are  here...

-What is your name? -Eric.

That I can say, Eric,  you  are  here,

you  are  in  this  conference,

that  means  that  you  know  about  this  topic. You  have  interest  about  this  topic.

I  can  bet  that  you  are  really  good in  what  you  say.

So  come  with  me,

and  let's  do  a  difference. We  need  to  put  water  in   Tegucigalpa."

So  that  was  the  challenge.

They  were  doing  their  best,

these  50  agile  coaches,

in  order  to  use  all the techniques,

in  order  to  understand  these  people.

But  as  well,  the  most  important  part

is  making  them  aware that  they  have  to  care about each other,

and  they  have  to  care about politics,

and  they  have  to  care about respect the rules.

Because  if  they  continue breaking the rules,

they  will  continue making  a  mess  with  the  water.

So  at  the  end,

because  I  don't  want to  make  you  worried  about  this  story,

we  use  design  thinking, Heart Of Agile, the scrum,

scrum  at the  scale.

We  were  using

value- stream  mapping,

we  were  using  retrospective,

we  were  using powerful  question  techniques.

During  the  three  days that  we  were  having the boot camp.

We  use  cards  on  the  wall.

And  we  ended  up  with  10  possible

projects  to  solve  this  situation.

Already  with  the  money  to  finance that,

and  with  the  commitment to  the  several  sectors

in  order  to  work  on  that.

So  we  improved  the  situation

Tegucigalpa is  not  like  the  place without  any  shortage of water,

but  it's  better

than  when  we  make  the  intervention.

I  have  to  say  that  was  successful.

It  wasn't  successful  because of the method,

was  successful because of the commitment,

and  because  of  the  50  agile coaches,

that  wanted  to  make  a  change as well with their neighbors.

With   Tegucigalpa.

We  used  the  clear  and  shared  objectives,

beneficiaries  that  were  already involved,

the  teams  with  social  passion,

the  transparency,

and  the  frequent and  visible  results.

Okay,  after  that

you  can  say ,

"Okay,  what  is  next?"

Can  you  do  that  in  a  city?

But  can  you  do  an  entire  agile  country?

And  one  day

I  was  visiting  my  mom, because  I  live  in  Washington,  DC.

Sorry,  I  am  not  really  good  at  using  this.

Can  we  go  to  the  other  one? To  the  last  one?

It's  the  last  one  before  me, he  broke  it.

Okay,  let's  see...

That  one?  No.

I  am  not  going  to  touch it.

One  more...

That one.

Thank  you,  I  did  it.

So  I  was  just  visiting my  mom in Costa Rica,

and  I  have  to  go  to  do  somewhere around  at  the  bank.

Normal  things  that  you  do  over  there.

I  mean,  make  a  line, really  boring  line.

No  one  can  get  fun

when  you  are  making a  line  for  them  and  for  errands.

And  suddenly  I  received  a  phone  call.

I  was  checking  all  these Whatsapp  messages,

somebody  were  asking  about  my  phone  number

and  I  was  like,  "Who's  looking  for  me?"

Suddenly  I  received  a  phone  call.

-Hello? -Hello?

-Rocío? -Yes?

You  are  in  Costa  Rica?

Yes,  I  am  visiting  my  mom.

Who  are  you?

-Well,  you  don't  know  me. -Well,  I  know  that.

We  are  talking  to  you from  the  Liberal  Progressive's  Party.

Oh  no,  I  don't  have  money.

I  cannot  bring  you  anything.

We  know  that  the  next  year will  be  like  the  elections.

I  already  told  you that  I  don't  have  money.

No,  I  am  not  reaching  you  about  that.


why  you  are  reaching  me?

I  am  making  a  line  for  the  bank,

so  please  go  to  the  point,

because  I  don't  have  time to  lose  with  the  politics.

I  am  not  a  politician.

So  he  told  me, "well  I  have  heard  about  you

and  the  things  that  you  have  been  doing  in agile  in  other  countries."

And  I  was,  "Yes?"

So  we  want  to  create  an  agile  country

and  this  phone  call is  to  tell  you  to  stay  in  Costa  Rica,

don't  go  back  to  the  USA,

and  run  as  candidate for  Vice  President  for  the  country.

I  was  like,

"There  is  a  camera  here?"

But  actually  that  happened  so  I  was  like,

"Can  I  have  some  minutes to  finish  my  errand  at  the  bank?"

I  will  go  back  to  my  house,

and  I  remember  that  I  just  sent a  text  message  to  my  mom

telling  they  want  me  to  become Vice  President  of  the  country.

What  do  you  think?

She  said,

"Weren't  you  at  the  bank?"


And  later  on  calling  my  husband— who is American—

I  was  like,  "Honey,

they  want  me  to  run  as  Vice  President candidate of the country.

To  make  an  agile  country."

And  he  said ,

"Babe,  is  it  not  a  scam?"

So  I  met  this  guy

and  I  ended  up  quitting  my  job.

Being   almost

pretty  much  all  the  year  without  a  job, living  from  my  savings

in  order  to  create

the  journey  to  how  to  make  agile 323 governmental institutions.

Applying  some  kind   of lean,

as  well  deciding  what  people is  going  to  be  involved  in  this  effort,

and  trying  to  do  the  same  thing that  we did with the water,

but  for  entire  government  plan.

Suddenly  to  happen that  we  lost the  elections.

Two  or  three  weeks  ago, because  it  was  on  February  6th.

We  won  the  11%  of  the  congress positions

with  an  agile  proposal.

So  that  is  the  story.

We  use  five  commitments.

These  are  the  key  points that  we  use in the government plan.

And  pretty  much  that's  it.



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