The Agile Manifesto
It is often read, recited, and learned by heart, but insufficiently implemented. As a foundation, the Manifesto supports Agility and practitioners. It is the reason why we call Agile practitioners “Agilists”.
Why is it so difficult to implement? Isn’t it about human relations that are more real, more honest, and more meaningful? Of course, but when two Agilists discuss about the foundations of the Manifesto, a destabilizing emotion often arises. Very often, it’s fear. Indeed, fear that comes over you and results in dysfunctions between individuals and teams.
Fine, but what are we afraid of? Most of the time, it’s a fear of losing control or of no longer having it. We’re afraid that everything will collapse. We’re afraid to lose one’s place if everything runs smoothly. We’re afraid to lose one’s status, prestige, usefulness. These fears that paralyze us create dependencies and give us the illusion of success, because we retained control. We were right to be afraid. It’s our 6th sense that is talking to us and that is asking us to have the upper hand before losing everything. Illusion!
This feeling is a serious impediment to self-organization and self-sufficiency. It acts as a brake on the group’s alignment and consistency. Therefore, it does not provide teams with velocity of execution. It compromises their commitment and promotes individualism and couldn’t-give-a-damn attitude. In fact, creative emergence is cut in the bud.
Nevertheless, it is so easy to get results without stress, fear, nor control!
Imagine a world where things run even more smoothly when you are around. And, if you’re absent, the cruising speed does not change . . . A world where people are committed and self-organizing . . . A world where teams are ultra-performing and wishing to constantly deliver the greatest business value at the lowest cost and as early as possible . . . A world where production costs drop and quality increases . . . where clients become partners in your success, and vice versa . . . A world where holacracy powers value at the highest level and contributes to support and promote an Agile developmental approach.
Nope, it’s not Scrum, Agile Lean, nor Kanban that will take you to this fantastic world. What will make it happen is a set of values and principles called the Agile manifesto.
With its values and principles, the Manifesto teaches us that what is really important is not what is happening to us, but how we react to what is happening. This difference constitutes the gap between humility and ego, harmony and discord, altruism and greed.
Thus, go ahead, close your eyes, and have confidence. Take the time to be really attentive to your discussions and exchanges. And when fear or apprehension arises, just relax. “Why not?” Encourage your people to make decisions, to express themselves freely. Congratulate them for their courage, their boldness. This exercise will invariably take them to healthy confrontations where real value will be at the heart of discussions. Be a helpful leader. Do not ask yourself what the others will do for you, but instead what you can do to help your people and your teams to grow and blossom professionally.
And above all, get support from coaches, experts in Agility who have the training and tools that are essential to generate the best out of people while applying the Manifesto.
The know-how is only a tiny part of the solution. Are self-management skills the holy grail of Agility? I dare to believe it, because these skills are the springboard towards a sustainable Agile transition.