Sustainable Agile Manifesto

Sustainable Agile Manifesto

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The manifesto is a guiding light for individuals, teams, leaders, and enterprises to navigate the super VUCA world ahead of us and discover a new normal, a better world, and better earth.

Sandeep Joshi

Author of the Sustainable Agile Manifesto

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The four core values of Manifesto for Sustainable Agile are:

1. Collocated minds Over Collocated People

Technology has helped us prove that remote work at such a massive scale is possible. Studies have long proven collocated teams are better at delivery outcomes and gain alignment quickly. The effect of the current situation will fundamentally shift how office spaces & collocation is perceived by individuals and leaders.

In post COVID-19 era and beyond, remote working may take a front seat giving people commute-free lifestyle combined with technology innovations. We are all learning and experience through a global movement that it is more important to have the power of minds, ideas and thoughts together and collocated through digital mediums and conferencing innovations, etc. Physical collocation may prove not to be an essential aspect for new normal where everyone will master the art of remote working.

2. Collective Outcomes Over Individual Outputs

This CORE value represents multiple aspects.

The first aspect is related to individual productivity. The urge to measure individual productivity has always been of keen interest for people who are more focused on ROI over Impact. It has been a topic of debate over years in the agile community that rather than measuring outputs or utilization, one should measure outcomes. In my experience, outputs/utilization measured in an absolute number of hours or any time unit may have NO direct relation to intellectual outcomes. A higher utilization may also yield depreciation in form of burn-outs or partial failures due to excessive load/stress on individuals. 
When we focus on collective outcomes, it drives collaboration, cooperation, and teamwork. Successful organizations will find it a continuous endeavor and a critical mandate to work as a team (not individuals), leveraging collective strengths to deliver collective outcomes.

3. Speed to Value Over Speed to Market

In these times of stress, going faster isn’t the universal answer. Leaders must focus on anticipation and responsiveness along with the perceived opportunity value. Defining value is hard – leaders should carefully define components that make up the value. The components that create value would be different for different companies ranging from competitiveness, risk reduction, compliance or sustainability, or other business drivers. When leaders define & manage priorities in the new era, they also need to consider the greater good of society over the traditional capitalist mindset.

4. Empathy and Trust Over Command and Control

During the current crisis and in the post-crisis era, empathy and trust would define the success of leaders. Without empathy, there is no trust which directly impacts working relationships. At the individual level, everyone is going through a different set of challenges. The layoffs, lock-down, and health worries are showing an uprising trend. Leaders who continue to use authority and command to push people in these circumstances may lose respect. A truly nimble mindset that encourages people to be at their best while balancing their essential needs is really critical for now & beyond. A sustainable work culture, driven deeply by empathy and trust would promote unconditional loyalty.

The need for a renewed Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto (2001) at the time of writing had the primary focus to find better ways of developing software. Over the years, agile adoption has continued to expand not only within IT but also beyond IT in different organizational functions such as HR, Finance, Marketing, and so on. The values and principles of agile remain timeless. However, the application of these values and principles needs to be revisited.

We’re experiencing an unprecedented reality. As companies and leaders go through discovering and defining the new normal, we need a nimble yet resilient mindset to support different ways of working for everyone – be it software development, business operations, or mission-critical service operations. That’s the promise of the new manifesto.

Universal Applicability

The Manifesto for Sustainable Agile brings inclusiveness for everyone in the new normal. Its application is not limited to any particular domain, function, industry or team, or business model. These core values can be universally applied to any and all of the below compositions:

  1. Domains of Work
  2. Types of Team Compositions
  3. Industries
  4. Technology Functions
  5. Business Functions
  6. Business Models
  7. Individuals
Universal Application of Sustainable Agile
Universal Application of Sustainable Agile


Contribute to the Manifesto – For the Community, By the Community

The Manifesto for Sustainable Agile is open source and is released under the CC4-BY-SA license. This is a “FOR THE COMMUNITY, BY THE COMMUNITY” movement. With the power of community, we can co-create the future of agile and the future of the world sustainably.

Core Team Behind the Manifesto

Meet the community volunteers who are working behind the scene to grow the Sustainable Agile Community

Rafael Castro de Oliveira

Rafael Castro de Oliveira

Agile Transformation Coach | Helping People and Enterprises
    Brittney (Buckley) Gray

    Brittney (Buckley) Gray

    ASEAN Regional Lead, Agile Transformation | Client Enablement & Transformation at Standard Chartered Bank
      Prasanna Sankaran

      Prasanna Sankaran

      Enterprise Transformation Leader | Coach | Consultant
        Rajaram Kannan

        Rajaram Kannan

        Executive Coach| Behaviour Change|Organisational Transformation|ORSC | RCH| Systemic & Family Constellations| Meta Coach