It’s not uncommon for the person or people who built a plan to resist change, because it takes work to change a plan. For example, there may have been a lot of effort put into breaking the work down into packages, and estimating each one of them. A change could require a project manager to have to redo all of that work, and if he values following a plan over responding to the change, he might dig his heels in. This makes for a smoother project, but, if the change is really needed, it will be much harder to make it later on, after the code is more complete.

The text above was extrated from book Learning Agile - Understanding Scrum, XP, Lean, and kaban, page 36.

What does mean the expression "He might dig his heels"?

I think that one means hard working. Am I right?

2 Answers 2


As Collins states:

If you dig your heels in or dig in your heels, you refuse to do something such as change your opinions or plans, especially when someone is trying very hard to make you do so.

In this case, "he might dig his heels in" means "he might stubbornly refuse to accept a change to his plans."

  • To prevent yourself being dragged against your will. Commented Apr 15, 2023 at 22:13

To "dig in his heels" means to strenuously resist something. In this case, a change in plans.

Think of trying to force someone to go somewhere that he doesn't want to go. To resist you, he might plant the back of his feet firmly in the ground so that you have difficulty dragging him. That is, he might "dig his heels" into the ground.

The phrase can be used to describe resisting anything, not just changing plans. Like, "I suggested to Bob that he wear a nice suit to his job interview, but he dug in his heels and insisted he was going to wear his usual t-shirt and blue jeans." Etc.

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