Thursday, August 14, 2014

A is for Agile... and changing the world

We are uncovering better ways of developing software, by doing it and helping others to do it...

-- The Manifesto for Agile Software Development 

In 2001, seventeen people signed a 73 word statement that changed software development forever. Before: a bunch of guys doing "lightweight project management." After: a set of values which coalesced into a name, "Agile" and later into a movement. People identified with the values and transformed their working worlds with things like Scrum, Extreme Programming, Kanban, Lean Startup, and still other ideas and frameworks we haven't invented yet.

As we got better at developing software, we discovered the need for better ways at lot of things. The Agile movement inspired DevOps, which is looking for better ways to operate computer systems, and Stoos, which is looking for better ways of management. Soon, maybe scientists will look for better ways of conducting research, and maybe you will look for better ways of doing whatever you do.

How can you use the Agile Manifesto to help you? Start with the Agile Manifesto, find some colleagues who do what you do, and play with the Manifesto a bit. Not developing software? What is your essential goal or reason for being? Adjust the manifest as necessary to fit your situation. It probably won't need many changes.

So if you are in the HR department, what do you do? Maybe it is something like 'developing our human potential.' So what would a manifesto for agile human resources look like? Maybe something like this:

Sample Manifesto for Agile Human Development

We are uncovering better ways of developing human potential, by doing it and helping others to do it. Through this work we have come to value:
  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Autonomy, mastery and purpose over documentation, directives and control
  • Collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
This is probably not quite right, but you get the idea. And it should be your manifesto, not mine, so feel free to keep working on it!

Want to change your world? Start looking for a better way! Maybe write your own manifesto... Want to find like-minded individuals, check out the Open Space event 24 Think Park in Zurich...