The colorful wall posters are ubiquitous in organizations small and large. And I bet most of us are keenly aware of the 2001 Agile Manifesto and can recite the 4 value statements and 12 principles of Agile software development with supreme clarity. Sometimes compared to the Declaration of Independence, many cherish it as the timeless artifact that ultimately spawned the Agile transformation movement. Over the years, I’ve relentlessly referred to it and have respectfully challenged organizations to learn from 15+ years of wisdom embedded within the Manifesto.
Fast forward to 2016 and you’ll see that we’re in a much different place than 2001. The pursuit toward Enterprise Agile and scaling is an industry buzzword and was a major theme at this year’s Agile Alliance conference. With Agile2016’s attendance at 2,500 strong, the learning and cross-industry collaboration was at an all-time high.
As a conference participant, I used the week as an opportunity to exchange learnings and experiences with Enterprise Coaching peers, as well as other leaders and practitioners across this vast space of “Agile” and Scrum. Through various conversations during the week, the following two themes emerged for me:
- Large Enterprises continue to share many of the same opportunities & challenges.
- We agree that a principles-first approach toward Enterprise Agile is essential for the most effective adoption of processes, practices, and tools.
In short, a guiding set of organizational principles helps adapt processes and practices in an organization’s context while successfully moving the Agile needle in a meaningful direction.
That said, I invite us to ponder the following question:
Are the principles in the 2001 Agile Manifesto still relevant in 2016?
The mid-week keynote seemed to offer a compelling answer to the question. Joshua Kerievsky’s talk on Modern Agile focused on the evolution of Agile and our need to keep pace via an adapted set of guiding principles. Here is a picture showing the 4 broad principles from the 2001 Agile Manifesto (left) and the proposed 4 principles for Modern Agile (right):
In his keynote, Kerievsky postulated that the Agile Manifesto was relevant when drafted in 2001, but in present-day, Agile has evolved far beyond its original intentions…rendering the original principles as outdated. What do you think?
This keynote article summarizes Kerievsky’s message better than I can, so I invite all of us to learn and draw our own conclusions. For those who weren’t at Agile2016, this amazing visual summary captured the essence of his talk (credit: Lynne Cazaly):
Like the original Manifesto, there is a vast body of knowledge under the covers – including theory & science, thinking tools, practices, and skills that must be understood, adopted and mastered in your organization’s context. I would also offer that, for the most part, the 4 principles of Modern Agile are easy to understand …. but extremely difficult to master (just like Scrum) – especially at the size and scale of our largest global enterprises. But now is the time for many larger organizations to figure this out if they want to continuously deliver valuable outcomes and effectively compete in their industries.
What Do You Think?
Is it time to host a well-earned retirement party for the Agile Manifesto and align toward Modern Agile? Where should Lean principles be considered? I invite all of us to engage with this post by sharing your views in the comments section.