This is the Sound of All Of Us

This Is the Sound of All Of Us

Previously given at

  1. Scotland Lean Agile Glasgow, 2013 Christmas Lightning Talks
  2. Norway Booster 2014
  3. Sweden Internal company event, November 2014
  4. United States Scaled Agile Inc, SPCT class, December 2015
  5. United Kingdom Agile in the City Birmingham, March 2017 – 45 minute extended mix
  6. United Kingdom London Lean Kanban Days, April 2017 – 45 minute extended mix

This is the sound of all of us
Singing with love and the will to trust
Leave the rest behind it will turn to dust
This is the sound of all of us
The Wailin’ Jennies – One Voice

Often we talk about the power of small, self-organising groups of people, working collaboratively. Lyssa Adkins gives a beautiful example of a string quartet in her powerful book on coaching on how the quartet members work together and communicate constantly throughout a performance. Some of the most powerful music of the last century has come from pairs of writers and performers working intimately together – George and Ira Gershwin. Lennon and McCartney. Simon and Garfunkel.

But music, like software, often seeks to deliver work at a larger scale and with more complexity than a single, self-organising team can manage. And seeks to do so with unpredictable skill levels of the performers. What lessons can music teach us about the problems and potential workarounds of scaled delivery of creative work?

Using more musical examples than deserve to fit in 10 minutes, Martin Burns brings 40 years of musical experience and formal education from his first career to bear on the problems of his current day job.

Lightning Talk Version

Extended Remix

Booster, Bergen

Agile in the City Birmingham

London Lean Kanban Days

Here are the videos used in my Lightning Talk The Sound of All Of Us. Most of them are far better in their full versions than what I can show in a 10 minute timeframe.

Collaboration and Participation

By United Press International, photographer unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

wham, bad boys,
Photo by badgreeb RECORDS

Collaborative version of “Close to You” inspired by/stolen from


Dreyfus model of skill acquisition

Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition.
Image source:

Rock and Blues Patterns

Both by Griff Hamlin.



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CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This Is the Sound of All Of Us by Martin Burns is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.