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Gone with Agile

There's the very first post about Agile that you might want to look at before this, but it is not mandatory to continue reading. Both are related, this one goes deeper.

The Manifesto for Agile Software development (The Manifesto) is a set of 4 values and 12 principles. We all know that. Additionally (outside of the Manifesto) there is a bunch of practices that allow us to live those in practice. For example, the first principle about continuous delivery of valuable software. This principle already self-reveals the practice of CD (Continuous Delivery), however it is insufficient for the actual continuous delivery to work. Why so? Because there is a number of people involved before and during the actual delivery of the valuable software. And how people interact has always been important and is addressed by other principles in the Manifesto. At least few more need to be lived too to have Continues Delivery work.

The Manifesto was not written by 17 people separately. It was a co-creation over a course of several days. What those guys did back then (2001) is they brainstormed, argued, discussed and agreed before documenting the 4 values and 12 principles. During this process, they also merged their own values and principles into the upcoming writing. They obtained a shared understanding. The result as we know, is a solid foundation of what it is being and doing Agile as created by Agile practitioners and thought leaders. The 4 values and the 12 principles are inter-connected, support and complement each other. Only as a whole those are able to bring the benefits of Agility.

Now, in an organizational context people wanting to make it more Agile or having a higher level of Agility, experience a collision of at least three worlds:

  • Individual values and principles world - what each individual values and based on what principles acts (given);

  • Organizational values and principles world as stated on websites and portals - what the leadership with HR have stated (might not be lived by everyone);

  • The 4 Agile values and the 12 principles world - new joiners :).

Going Agile adds another set of values and principles to the existing diversity of individual and organizational combo. What happens here? Which value system dissolves in which? Or maybe a new one forms? The result is a mix of the three worlds for sure. It's an eternal perfect storm of different values systems that compete, complement and augment each other as people are thinking and behaving daily. We should not underestimate the importance and impact of people values and awareness of those on behavior. And it is eternal because everything (customer, people, needs, services, context) changes all the time. It never stops.

If an organization has found itself in front of a change, a transformation towards working differently, most likely some kind of a need has started to talk. What is that talking? What do we hear? Maybe the Manifesto can serve as an amplifier? Maybe a translator or a messenger? Or maybe a partner and a catalyst? How to know that? Only by trying.

In a way the Manifesto is an invitation to a storm at another level, an invite to stop, get together and deep dive into an important yet rarely practiced exercise: What do we value and what do we need to value? It could be that the idea of an Agile adoption or transformation might just fade away. Or maybe just the opposite - a solid start for becoming a truly Agile organization. You would have gone somewhere for sure.

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