Now, That’s a Good Story!

Michael Aucoin

Michael Aucoin, D. Engr., PE, PMP is president of Leading Edge Management, LLC in College Station, Texas and author of Right-Brain Project Management: A Complementary Approach. He can be reached at

There is a growing school of thought in the practice of leadership that we do not follow people. Instead, we commit to following stories that resonate with us. The story is the leader, not a person. What is your story? What story will others tell about your agile project? The questions are important because of the power of story.

Throughout most of human history, knowledge and values were passed along almost exclusively through stories. There is likely a link between the evolution of the brain and the characteristic benefits of stories. Certain stories have been found universally among all cultures in the world, suggesting that our brains may be “hardwired” with these stories. A story is the best way to economically communicate understanding and wisdom as well as to nurture passion and motivation.

A good story is important to the agile project. Team members on the agile project are typically pressed to stretch limits and proceed where the environment is ambiguous. As such, the team needs guidance on principles and values to shape the way forward and to help them push through challenges. Stories reveal timeless and timely truths; they serve as lighthouses when we need direction and need to summon greatness within us. This is exactly the kind of leadership that a good story offers.

So, what makes for a good story? While many books have been written on …

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