“Principles aren’t principles when you pick and choose when you’re gonna follow them." – Chidi Anagonye, The Good Place 

Have you ever been in a gnarly situation where you really struggled to make a decision? Should I go left or should I go right? Should I go over or should I go under?? Should I stay or should I go??? How the heck do you navigate these messed up situations?! And at the end of it, how do you know whether what you chose to do was ‘right’?  

Big dilemmas can get us pretty worked up, and when the emotions roll in, we often let our instincts take over, while our brains forget to think. That’s where ethics steps in. Ethics is the difference between what you have a right to do and what the right thing is. Ethics ain’t easy, but having a framework to look at complex situations supports us enables us to put the emotions to one side, and consider things more objectively. In this session we will face some big dilemmas, explore the idea of making decisions with ‘good’ reasons, and discuss how to guide and coach others to develop their ethical reasoning.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

NOTE: This session is proposed as a virtual session due to worldwide travel restrictions. 


Alex Sloley 


Sarah Skold

Session Type: Interactive Presentation 


5' - Introduction – Sarah and Alex intro themselves and how they came to be ethical partners 

45' for the next section 

  • Pop quiz – what would happen if you ended up in the Good Place afterlife, but you knew you were there by an administrative mistake? What would you do? What would the consequences be? Raise you left hand to stay mum, raise your right hand to confess! 
  • What are ethics and why do I care – definition, why they matter, what it means to make an decision using ethical reasoning. 
  • Choose your own adventure – You’re the Agile Coach! The audience will be presented with a series of difficult, and ethical, decisions to make while coaching the CEO of a large company. The scenario includes 4 critical decisions, participants will choose using left/right hand gestures, these will be the results: 

    1st decision = bad result 
    2nd decision = good result 
    3rd decision = good result 
    4th decision = bad result, death results! 

  • Coaching ethically, and coaching ethics – how do I think about my own decision making, and how to I support leaders and teams to come to a shared decision-making framework? 
  • Micro and macro consequences – the judgements made, examples, and the consequences thereof, ask them to come up with dilemmas they have faced. How do I reflect on and understand my coaching impact? Call to action – go back to your coachees and orgs and start a conversation about ethics. 

5' - Conclusion 

Remainder of total timebox - Q&A, approx 5' - Sarah is a Devil, Alex is an Angel 


Agile Coaches need to learn about, prepare for, and practice their responses to challenging ethical situations. It is also crucial to have a framework to help evaluate these challenging situations and make well-reasoned decisions about how to act. Agile Coaches who practice ethical reasoning model the behavior that can help build and support an ethical organization. 

Alex Sloley is an Agile consultant, specializing in Agile training, Agile coaching, and software development best practices. Alex is a fifteen-year veteran of Microsoft where he acted as a Program Manager, Software Test Engineer, and Software Design Engineer in Test. At Microsoft, he shipped in over ten products, worked with Microsoft Research on multiple high-profile projects, and helped lead his organization into enterprise-level implementation of Scrum. As an Agile consultant, he has led Agile transformation efforts at a variety of clients, spanning industries and incorporating a diverse range of Agile practices. 

Sarah Skold is a Client Insights Manager at Macquarie Group, practicing human centered design in an agile workplace to discover, design and deliver exceptional client experiences for retail banking clients. She has 12 years of experience in HR and Learning & Development, during which she designed and facilitated self-awareness, management and leadership training. In her spare time Sarah volunteers as a primary school ethics teacher at her children's school. In this role she helps children develop skills in ethical reasoning, critical thinking and respectful discussion, with the goal of supporting children to make well-reasoned decisions, rather than act out of habit or peer pressure. 

Alex's conference and presentation history:

Agile Open Northwest 2012 - Session Leader
Übermind ÜnConference 2012 - Session Leader
MobileUXCamp Seattle 2012 - Session Leader
Seattle Kaizen Camp 2012 - Session Leader
MAQCon 2012 - Cofounder
MobileUXCamp Seattle 2013 - Session Leader
Seattle Kaizen Camp 2013 - Session Leader
MobileUXCamp Seattle 2014 - Session Leader
Seattle Kaizen Camp 2014 - Session Leader
Construx Software Executive Summit 2014 - Facilitator
Shell Developers Summit 2015 - Keynote Speaker
Scrum Coaching Retreat Seattle 2015 - Volunteer Team
Un:Conference Canberra 2016 - Session Leader
Agile2016 - Volunteer Team
UX Australia 2016 - Speaker, Reviewer
Agile Coach Camp Sydney 2016 - Session Leader
Agile Tour Sydney 2016 - Facilitator
StartCon 2016 - Pitch Competitor
Global Scrum Gathering San Diego 2017 - Reviewer
Global Scrum Gathering Singapore 2017 - Speaker (Rating = 4.5/5)
Agile Coach Camp Sydney 2017 - Session Leader
Scrum Gathering India 2017 - Speaker, Facilitator, Coaches' Clinic
Lean Agile Systems Thinking Canberra 2017 - Organizer, Speaker (Rating = 5/5)
Lean Agile Systems Thinking Melbourne 2017 - Speaker (Rating = 5/5), Facilitator (Rating = 4.4/5)
Lean Agile Systems Thinking Sydney 2017 - Speaker
Scrum Gathering Melbourne 2017 - Speaker (Rating = 2nd highest session at conference), Coaches' Clinic
AgileNZ 2017 - Speaker
Scrum Gathering South Africa 2017 - Speaker
Business and Enterprise Agility Conference India 2017 - Speaker
Business Agility Conference NYC 2018 - Facilitator
1st Conference Melbourne 2018 - Facilitator
Lean Agile Systems Thinking Sydney 2018 - Speaker
Agile Impact Jakarta 2018 - Speaker, Workshop Facilitator
Business Agility Conference Sydney 2018 - Reviewer, Chief Facilitator, Organizer
Global Scrum Gathering Austin 2019 - Reviewer
XP 2019 Montreal - Industry and Practice Co-Chair
XP 2018 Porto
Lean Agile Systems Thinking Melbourne 2018
Agile2018 San Diego - Speaker
Regional Scrum Gathering Sydney 2018 - Speaker, Coaches' Clinic
Agile Tauranga 2018 - Speaker, Workshop Facilitator
Regional Scrum Gathering South Africa 2018 - Speaker
Agile Impact Jakarta 2018 - Speaker, Workshop Facilitator
Business Agility Conference Sydney 2018 - Reviewer, Chief Facilitator, Organizer
Global Scrum Gathering Austin 2019 - Reviewer
Business Agility Conference Sydney 2019 - Reviewer, Chief Facilitator, Organizer
Agile Australia 2019 - Reviewer
Mile High Denver 2019 - Speaker
Scrum Coaching Retreat Kuala Lumpur 2019 - Organizer, Advisor
Scrum Coaching Retreat Sydney 2019 - Organizer, Advisor
XP 2019 Montreal - Industry and Practice Co-Chair
Agile2019 - Workshop Facilitator
Agile India 2019 - Workshop Facilitator, Speaker
LAST Melbourne 2019 - Speaker
LAST Sydney 2019 - Workshop Facilitator
Scrum South Africa 2019 - Speaker
CBA Agility Day 2019 - Keynote Speaker
Scrum Tokyo 2020 - Speaker
Scrum NYC 2020 (cancelled) - Accepted Speaker
Agile Australia 2020 - Reviewer
Agile on the Beach New Zealand 2020 – Workshop Facilitator 
Regional Scrum Gathering Colombia 2020 – Speaker 
Agile 2020 (cancelled) – Accepted Workshop Facilitator 
Regional Scrum Gathering Hyderabad 2020 – Upcoming Speaker
Agile Coaching Retreat Live Online 2020 - Organizer  
Scrum Australia 2021 - Upcoming Speaker
Regional Scrum Gathering Nigeria 2021 – Upcoming Speaker 
Mile High Agile Denver 2021 - Upcoming Speaker

Sarah presents and leads multiple workshops internally at her employer, Macquarie. 



Learning Outcome

  • The attendees will learn about the difference between ethics and morals, and what the value of ethics is 
  • The attendees will practice using ethical reasoning to make decisions 
  • The attendees will discuss ethical challenges they face in their agile coaching practice  
  • The attendees will understand and anticipate the potential consequences of their decisions 

Target Audience

Agile Coaches, Scrum Masters, Change Agents, Managers, Leaders, Agile HR

Prerequisites for Attendees


schedule Submitted 9 months ago