Sustainable Agile Manifesto

Sustainable Agile Manifesto

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.

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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 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 agile community that rather than measuring outputs or utilisation, one should measure outcomes. In my experience, outputs/utilisation measured in absolute number of hours or any time unit may have a NO direct relation to intellectual outcomes. A higher utilisation 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 team work. Successful organisations will find it a continuous endeavour 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 greater good of society over 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 success of leaders. Without empathy, there is no trust which directly impacts working relationships. At individual level, everyone is going through 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 which 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.

Why we need another 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 organisational functions such as HR, Finance, Marketing and so on. The values and principles of agile remains timeless. However, the application of these values and principles need 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. It’s 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 future of the world sustainably.

Join the Sustainable Agile Community Today!

A black & white poster for the manifesto can be found here.