Manifesto for Agile Governance

It’s been 14 years since the original Manifesto for Agile Software Development was forged on February 12, 2001, by 17 software development leaders.  The pace of change continues to accelerate and Agile Methodologies have begun to successfully replicate themselves beyond software and IT.
Recently Andrew was chatting with some of his colleagues at Knowit Group in Stockholm, Sweden and they had suggested creating a Manifesto that deals with Scaling Agile.  It was during one of the discussions on this topic that Andrew pointed out that there is actually a subtle, yet key, difference between Scaling Agile and Enterprise Governance.  And, so far, it has been a really tough sell for the Technology side of the company to convince the Business side of the organization to adopt “Agile.”  The graphic below might help describe the issue:
 Agile Governance Leadership UVF simplified
Scaling Agile has primarily been limited to all activities below the line in the Technology area.  Governance, on the other hand, is above the line and impacts the entire organization.  To date, Agile has grown organically from the bottom-up.  There are a myriad of team-level tools like Scrum, Kanban, XP, Scrumban, etc.  And, for scaling technology teams and programs there are tools like SAFe, DAD, LeSS, etc.  But, they all are targeted at the technology side of the house.  Management 3.0 sort of straddles the line between technology and business, but it is primarily aimed at and utilized on the Technology side (for the middle-layer of management).
Our tool, the Unified Vision Framework, begins with the Executive in mind.  But also, due to its simplicity, also works at the team-level, regardless of the methodology:
Agile Governance Leadership UVF Napkin
We believe it is time to initiate the discussion about a Manifesto for Agile Governance instead of just for Scaling Agile.  This is because we feel that a Manifesto that could be used for just Scaling Agile, for example, would limit the discussion to only Technology through a management lens.  In our opinion, a Manifesto for Agile Governance raises the discussion to the Executive and leadership levels in the organization.
A number of well-known, authors and experts in the Agile community have recently published books on how to scale Agile and Scrum to the Enterprise level.  We’ll look at those tools in another blog post.  We find it interesting that a Manifesto for either Scaling Agile or Agile Governance hasn’t yet been agreed upon by the Agile community.
To get the ball rolling, we propose the following Manifesto for Agile Governance for consideration:

Manifesto for Agile Governance
We are uncovering better ways of delivering business value
by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
Clear Vision and Strategy over team-level, self-prioritization
Servant leadership over micromanaging, command and control
Business value delivered over completed product, service or result
Stakeholder collaboration over unbending governance structures
Iteratively leading change & innovation over following rigid plans 
That is, while there may be value in doing the items on the right,
we value delivering the items on the left more.

All thoughts, comments and input to improve this draft Manifesto for Agile Governance are most welcome; and, in advance, many thanks…
________________________
Andrew Kallman and Ted Kallman are the co-authors of the Unified Vision Framework and their book, “The Nehemiah Effect” is a #1 National Best Seller on Amazon.com (in as many as 3 categories:  Business, Consulting and Project Management) for 4 of the last 10 months:
The Nehemiah Effect: Ancient Wisdom from the World’s First Agile Projects
Advertisements
2 comments
  1. Peter Jetter said:

    Hm, so far agile made some progress to reduce waste from vertical silos(which reduced effectivity of horizontal value streams). Where agile largely fails IMO is in breaking down horizontal barriers and waste. As such i am not happy with the clear divide between business and technology. We must a achive a continuum, a flow in the vertical directions as well.
    Many companies have no problem in formulating clear business goals. Where we fail is in creating&maintaining VERTICAL COHERENCE of these business goals with the operational level of teams.

    One reason is that- like with product requirments-, we tend to describe solutions and not really problem spaces and Acceptance Critera, which allow for a sufficiently large solution space.

    Second is neglecting qualities of complex systems like emergence(the whole is not equal to the sum of parts) – and not allowing for evolutionary strategies (including heuristics and experimentation).

    Third: wrong information reduction mechanisms: Business goals are at high abstraction level- They tend to be fairly general aka context-free.
    Down at the operational level context-dependency is dominant. How do we add that context-specific information ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: