Agile Change – The Values

What does Agile involve? And what do I mean “Agile”? Does “Agile” mean “Agile, the Manifesto” and the “agile, the principles“? How about “agile, the software development methods“? Actually, “Agile” in this case means “all of the above”. When I look ate these, I find change.  Changing what we value. Changing how we develop and deliver software. Changing the engineering practices and methods to create software to support change

Our environment, abilities, beliefs and values  influence our behavior. Any action we take results from how these affect our thinking.


It seems to me changes resulting from/attributed to Agile should have values that parallel those in the Agile Manifesto. Without too much effort this results in:

In Agile Change we value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Learning and changes in behavior over new org charts and process documents

Participation and refinement over top down directives

Recognizing new opportunities over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.


Using the Stacy Matrix as a guide, it’s my observation that change falls into the “complex space”. This means mechanistic, Tayloristic, plan driven change will usually fail, and create multiple messes while doing so. These models do not map to a reality involving multiple concurrent paths and the ensuing change in decision making.

I get concerned about a change processes involving people and making statements like: “Diagnose gaps and manage resistance.” and “Never letting up.”


I find applying Human Systems Dynamics creates better results during change.

HSD helps you see and influence patterns in human relationships. When people interact at work or play, complex patterns emerge. HSD tools help you cope with those patterns when:

  • Resources are tight and demand is high
  • Your old tools and techniques fall short
  • Players are many, diverse, or constantly changing
  • Culture and/or organizational habits are obsolete
  • Too much or too little control makes people crazy
  • There are so many moving parts you don’t know where to start

Contact me if you’d like to apply and experience Human Systems Dynamics during change.

I appreciate Esther Derby for helping with the Agile Change Values.

1 reply
  1. Matt Block
    Matt Block says:

    I would agree that an organizational change, such as “adopting agile” would fall in the complex space. This is exactly the space where empirical process control works best, so frameworks like Scrum are very useful. What better way to manage your agile/scrum adoption than by using scrum itself!

    Reply

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