Another Agile conference has come and gone, and as usual, there was plenty to learn in Nashville this year (besides packing walking shoes for the Gaylord).
The biggest piece I took away from last week might be how we view the Agile Manifesto. After the SAFe kerfuffle, maybe it’s time we think of the manifesto in a different light.
Specifically, what if the manifesto wasn’t the manifesto? What if it was the Agile Constitution? Why? Well, does the constitution say anything about driving at 16 or drinking at 21? Is there anywhere in the constitution that says the BAC limit for driving is .08? No, the constitution just gives us a framework.
Similarly, do the words Scrum, XP, Lean, Kanban, Story Points, Daily Stand-up or any activities we hold dear specifically laid out in the 12 principles? Nope! Let’s re-imagine the manifesto as a set of guiding principles vs. some iron-clad document.
As Agile grows and spreads new frameworks and ideas will naturally evolve. There are too many smart people using Agile principles for this not to happen. I don’t expect every new idea to be accepted with open arms, but we should apply a uniform evaluation to these new frameworks. I am not advocating a “supreme court” of agile constitution scholars passing judgment on all new ideas, but I do think it will be easier for the community to accept new ideas if we simply view the manifesto as guiding principles vs concrete rules. If the new ideas meet a preponderance of agile principles, maybe it is something we should try. I don’t expect every new idea to be perfect day one, and if we are applying principle 12 then we should be inspecting and adapting these ideas over time. Let’s take what is good in these new ideas and evolve them to make them better vs. wholesale trashing the idea because we don’t like one or two components of the idea.
Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s Agile.