Katherine Kirk

Agile/Lean Coach, Consultant and Researcher at Independent Consultant


The danger of team safety
Friday 09:00 - 09:55

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It’s the buzz word making the rounds: Safety. The idea that teams and individuals need safety to be able to collaborate. But is that really true? Could the aim for team safety actually give us the opposite of what we intend? In fact, could it be detrimental?

After years of being called in to help fix dysfunctional hierarchies to move away from ‘comfort’ decisions steeped in risk aversion, regenerate monocultural teams into more innovative communities and after having to help release one too many teams in deadlock from a ‘safe-off’ – Katherine suggests we can overdo team and individual safety. In fact she proposes that sometimes aiming for safety in an innovative, rapidly changing, interdependent tech world can actually set teams and individuals up for a nasty fall. And breed apathy.

So, in this fun, engaging talk Katherine does what she does best and utilises 2,500 year old eastern philosophical models as lenses to investigate different ways of looking at “safety”. Drawing from her deep experience of transformation in tech-on-the-ground she will co-discover with the audience the idea that this obsession we have for team safety may not even be needed at all.. and, if so, what else might be an alternative?


Katherine Kirk is a solidly experienced independent Agile/Lean Coach and regular international conference speaker. Her primary area of expertise lies in co-discovery and insight facilitation through exploring and combining eastern and tribal philosophy to find practical answers to tough, on-the-ground issues, specifically involving contextually driven edge-cases and the cultural interaction between hierarchical management and Agile/Lean teams. After gaining a first class BSc (Hons) in computing she completed post graduate studies in software engineering at University of Oxford and currently enjoys being an active participant of a community of Lean and Agile practitioners in Europe who explore and challenge the status quo through experimenting and collaborating.