Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Manifesto for #Stoos Movement?

I have asked whether Stoos needs a Manifesto twice, once just before the first Stoos Gathering (on the Stoos), and once again about three months after the fact on the Stoos LinkedIn group. Neither discussion produced a strong demand for a Manifesto. The topic came up again at the Stoos Stampede (and I was pleased to participate in the discussion). Is this the monster that won't die? Or is there a deeper need for a manifesto?

On the one hand, a manifesto seems like a very logical byproduct of the Stoos movement. Stoos-I was inspired directly by the gathering at Snowbird Lodge which produced the Agile Manifesto. This is turn has served as a rallying point and common identity for Agilists around the world. Today, no less than a dozen different frameworks and methods can be called Agile. Surely we need a manifesto as well.

The online discussions did not generate much enthusiasm for a Stoos Manifesto. First of all, there are many principles and not much agreement on what the right ones are. Others pointed out that there are too many manifestos, so many people just roll their eyes at the idea of a new manifesto.
"My Evernote is full of manifesto's, so I'm not really waiting for another one...."
-- Patrick Verheij
"I think you already have something better than a manifesto: a vision. Organizations become learning networks of individuals creating value whose leaders steward the living."
-- Justin Redd
"No. Please no more manifestos! Maybe a set of values, or principles, or practices or methods or something. But if we care about being taken seriously, don't call it a manifesto. And especially not the cheesy "4 things on the right that we value more than the 4 things on the left", Agile manifesto parody."

-- Kurt Häusler
And there are some good parodies of the Agile Manifesto out there!

Given this background, I participated in a Stoos Stampede session "Does Stoos Need a Manifesto" facilitated by Fabian Schiller and Steffen Lentz.

Many of the same issues were discussed in the session. One argument sticks in my mind. There is no one way or one right set of values or principles. We are not looking for the one better way but for better ways. The affirmation of Stoos is very simple. Believe in and respect people.

We talked about how people discovered Lean, Agile or Scrum. Not as the result of long study, but rather as transformational epiphanies, "A-ha! moments."

The purpose of the Stoos network becomes clear: Enable learning about better ways. Enable sharing and learning. Enable epiphanies and moments of enlightenment.

And this is exactly what the Stoos movement has been doing:
  • Create and disseminate a compelling vision: the Statement of the Stoos 21.
  • Share information about the movement on
  • Enable global discussion and learning on the Stoos LinkedIn group.
  • Enable local discussion and learning through the Stoos Satellites.
So who needs a manifesto? We have a vision. And we have a growing network of Satellites and potential Satellites (Geneva, Berlin, Phoenix, San Francisco, Munich, Zurich, Hamburg, Sao Paulo, Lausanne,  Copenhagen and Munich - did I miss any?) to enable learning and share the vision around the world. Is there a Stoos Satellite near you? There can be! Just start it!