#50 – Reunion in Snowbird

Authors’ Comments:

Here, more than 20 years after the 17 thought-leaders met in The Lodge in Snowbird, Utah, we thought it was time to revisit the agile manifesto. Therefore, this is our humble suggestion on a new agile manifesto based on how we see agile being adopted.

Empiricism over methodologies

In the world of (software) development, we realize, accept and embrace that everything we do comes with learning, since we don’t know much upfront. Therefore, the only thing we can confidently predict is that something unpredicted will happen. The way to add value, steer in the right direction and reduce risk in this world is by focusing on empiricism, i.e., basing decisions on facts, experience and evidence. No matter what agile methodology is used, if observations of reality aren’t happening, we won’t overcome.

Growing people over certifying them

As in my other disciplines, motivated people with a compatible “right” mindset are the key to creating success in the agile world. However, many companies believe that their employees will magically understand the agile ways by taking a certification.While many certifications are great, what should be our focus i growing people by broadening their professional horizon, help them understand the value-add of customer-centricity and empowered teams, and build their ability to connect theoretical frameworks to business challenges. Certifications can be a means to this, but definitely not the end.

Culture change over transformation programs

The words ‘transformation’ and ‘program’ imply something temporary with a start and an ending. In the spirit of continuous improvement, the end state is a dynamic one rather than an absolute one where “agility” has been reached. Therefore, a kick-off of a such culture change should be part of any agile transformation. Make sure to not create too many “doing agile” KPIs or OKRs, such as number established teams, certified people, events held or CoPs created, but rather on more “being agile” behaviour measurements, such as the team members challenging the PO, the teams having the competencies to bring PBIs from backlog to done, etc. Only when the behavior has changed, the culture change is properly kicked off.

Product-centricity over scaling frameworks

With the emergence of the numerous scaling frameworks for enabling agility between related teams and even across the enterprise, the idea of descaling before scaling is typically a useful ambition. Here, descaling can mean clearly defining the products in the organization and establishing product-centric cross-functional teams that can do whatever work is needed for that product. So, instead of having a portfolio of work that spans across products and teams, mapping teams to products could reduce the overhead, narrow the focus of each team and improve the engagement, ownership and value-add. A “scaling framework” like LeSS supports this mindset.