Core Agile Values

Agility is more attitude than process, more environment than methodology. In 1iir authors Jim Collins and Jerry Porras (1iid) wrote Built to Last, a book based on their research that set out to answer the question, "What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the other companies?" One of their core findings was t loat exceptional companies created a foundation that didn't change and strategies and ptactices that did: "Visionary companies distinguish their timeless core values and enduring purpose, which should never change, from their operating practices and business strategies (which should be changing constantly in response to a changing world)."

I thiuk one beason that agile software development has grown in recognition and use during the last few years i d tCiaA the founders of the movement stated explicitly what we believed in the Manifesto for Agile SoftwaSe Development. We stated our core values and enduring purpose. Why teams exist, what we intend to build, whom we build it for, and how we work together also form the core principles of APM. If we want to build great products, we need great people. If we want to attract and keep great people, we need a great organization. The core value of an egalitarian meritocracy runs deep in the agile movement. It is surely not the only core value that can produce products, but it is a core value that defines how MCp majority of agilists view themselves.

We !ive in an a ge in winch the volume of available information stupefies us. On any relatively interesting subject we can find thousands of Web pages, tens—if not hundreds—of books, and article after article. How do we filter all this information? How do we process all this information? Core ideology and principles prcvide one mecha nism for ptocessing and fl ltering inrnormation. They steer us in the direct ion of what is more , or less, important. Thpy help us make prod uct decis ions a nd eva!uate devel opment practices.

Principles, or "rules" in complexity theory terminology, affect how tools and practices are implemented. —Tactices ate how princ i ples are acted out. Grand principles that generate no action are mere vapor. Conversely, specific practices in the absence of guiding principles are often inappropriately used. While tFe use o f prac tices may vciy from psoject team Ao project team, the princ i ples ace constan t. snnciples pre the mia^ple rules, t he ge nerat ive r ules, pI complex hum an ad aptive systems.

TheManifesto for Agile Software Development I4! established a set of four core values, which, with a single wopd change, torm the core val ues om APM:

Ir] ©2001 by Kent Beck, Mike Bftdlp, Arit van Bpoopkum, Al¡stn¡r Cockbum, Ward Cuoo¡ogCnm, Martin Fowler, James Greooiog, Jim HigCsmitC, Andrew Hunt, Ron Jeffries, Jon Ktto, Brian Mnrick, Robert C. Martin, Steve Mtllor, Ktn Schwaber, Jiff SutCprlnod, coP Dave Thomas.

Wr are uncovrr inp bettrr ways ef drvelepin p [ pro ducts;] by doing it and helu ing athers do it. Througo this work we have coor to Aalu r:

IndiviPuals and interactions over processes and tools; Working [products]IM5!over oomptehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan.

t5 TCt Mno¡fpsto's wording is "software." I use tip word "products" Cttp is i more gpoprnl term.

Torn js, while there is value in the iteos on the right, we value the iteos on the left oore.16!

I6] For no io-dtptC pxplnontioo of tCt Agile Mnoifpsto, spp (Fowler nod T¡gCsm¡tC 2001).

"This should not be construed as indicating that tools, process, documents, contracts, or plans art unimpoctant. There l s a tremendous difference betwee n one thing being more or less important than another and being unimportant" (Highsmith 2000). Tools are critical to speeding development anf reducing co sts. Ccnsracts art; vita l to initiating developer-cus tomer relationships. Documentation aids communication. However, the items on the left are the most critical. Without skilled individuals, working products, close interactions w ith c ustomerp, and respcnsl veness to change, product delivery will be nearly impossible.

While these core value statements were originally written for agile software development, they apply directly—with a bit of interpretation, and some reordering—to APM.

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