Who is Agustin Villena? (@agustinvillena)

Agustin Villena was suggested by Gustavo Quiroz. Here is what Gustavo has to say about Agustin.

I met Agustin briefly in Buenos Aires during Ágiles 2008 but we really had the chance to talk during Ágiles 2010 in Lima and also in Agile 2011, where he did a great talk about the wonderful work he had done helping the victims of the 2010 Chilean earthquake using Agile & Lean principles. He has done a lot to grow the Agile community in Chile and I always look forward to having great conversations with him whenever our paths cross.



























What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

I was active member of the Scout Movement for 15 years, first as Boy Scouts and next Rover Scout from 1986 to 1990 and Scout Leader from 1990 to 2001. These 10 years in a slum at Santiago de Chile (in La Pintana neighbourhood). That experience in teamwork, social innovation and practical enterpreneurship was the base to my search for real collaboration, creation of value and wellness through new technologies.

Inspired by that experience, one of my greatest dreams is to run a Software Studio for young people in slums, as a way to help them to integrate and thrive in knowledge society.

If you had not been in IT, what would have become of you?

I’m not an “IT guy”. IT is one of my hobbies and an enabler to explore many things. Since I was a kid, my greatest hero in history is Leonardo da Vinci, who excelled in every field that he explored. In our days, with today’s enormous body of knowledge is very difficult to be like Leonardo as an individual, therefore my current approach is to collaborate with experts in education, creativity, design thinking, etc., to form multidisciplinary teams, in some sort a “Da Vinci team”

What is your biggest challenge and why is it a good thing for you?

In Chile we have a saying: In house of the smith, knife of wood, saying that many times you don’t apply to yourself what you are other helping others to do. I help others to make some order and insight on their everyday workflow using approaches like GTD or Personal Kanban, but since I’m so interested in several topics, is very difficult to me to do so. 🙂 In short, my biggest challenge is and will be applying to myself the same practices that I recommend to others. I’m really convinced of their value, but is very hard to be objective with oneself and make improvements without external feedback.

I really need an agile coach for me!

What drives you ?

As I learned in the Scout Movement, to leave the world a bit better that when we enter it

What is your biggest achievement?

That depends on what you understand “to be big”. In numbers, it was the agile solidarity project known as chileyuda where hundreds of volunteers from many disciplines (developers, designers, social media experts, public relations experts, etc) built a website to organize the information about the effects of the Chilean earthquake of 2010 in only 6 days. We presented that experience at Agile2011 conference

If you are referring to my most important achievement for me, is my family (wife and kids).

What is the last book you have read?

In the fiction field, the book was Anathem by Neal Stepehson. In the technical field, currently I have three bedside books:

What question do you think I should also ask and what is the answer?

  • What are you pursuing now

My current effort is to strengthen the agile community in Chile, of which I am founder, to become a self-organized force for the continuous improvement of how to work in Chile, not only in IT but in all knowledge related professions, and through that, make our country a better and fairer place for everyone.

  • What do you think the current state of the agile movement?

In Chile we are far from the center of the agile movement. On the one hand this has led to a delay in several years of influence in our software and knowledge industry; but, on the other hand, we have the chance to learn from the mistakes of other communities and have a broad view of what comes from the first world.

I watch a lot of Cargo Cult in the agile practice, repeating patterns of the methods we criticized before, as professional certifications with no real value (like the ill-fated CSM), imposing “agile” processes on people, and not opening our eyes to the sister disciplines of which we have much to learn, such as Design Thinking, the Open Source movement, Sociocracy and many others.

In our community we are convinced that Agile is not just a way to make better software. It is a culture that goes far beyond the field of IT, fostering respect for people and self-organization towards the benefit of society.

Whom do you think I should ask next?

  • Luiz Parzianello: Brazilian agile coach, one of the guys that I’m always following to get his breakthroughs
  • Juan Palacio: An Spanish agile though leader, author of www.navegapolis.net and creator of the open certification
  • David Alfaro: Founder of the “Costa Rica Agil” agile community


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