Jim Highsmith

Co-author Agile Manifesto, Agile Pioneer, Writer, Storyteller, Agile Leadership Journey Guide,Thoughtworks Alumni

Jim Highsmith

The agile movement’s value statement “individuals and interactions” tells us about the importance of relationships, in which case Who leads into What I’ve done.

Who I Am: Adventurer, Catalyst, Storyteller

Co-author of the Agile Manifesto with 60 years’ experience as an IT manager, product manager, project manager, consultant, software developer, and agile pioneer.

I’ve always been an adventurer, trying out a variety of adventure sports from mountaineering to century bike racing. These sports involve taking calculated risks that are learned by experience and time. Likewise with my 60-year career in software development and management—I made several risky, but not reckless, career pivots.

Relying on my engineering and management experience I’ve been a catalyst to bring people together. From bringing together people from diverse functional areas like IT, management, product development, and software development, to helping bridge the gaps between teams and executives, I’ve relied on my catalytic, influencing skills. Founding member of Agile Alliance. Co-founder and first president of the Agile Project Leadership Network. Advisor to Agile Leadership Journey. Executive Consultant at ThoughtWorks. Director of Cutter Consortium’s Agile Project Management practice.

Whether I’m relating mountain climbing to adapting to change, or presenting agility to conference audiences, I rely on storytelling to provide emotional “hooks” so audiences can remember facts and figures. Author of six agile books, the latest Wild West to Agile (2023).

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