Skip to main content

What are the Principles?

The agile reboot is underway... the company says it is using "Agile" yet there is no methodology/process/framework that defines "Agile" is there.  So it is not a very valid statement to say we do Agile.  Agile is a philosophy - defined by 4 comparative value statements and 12 principles.  So the top-dog rightly focuses the company on one well defined Agile process - Scrum.  Great move for a change initiative.  Focus is going to be important.  Now we need to discriminate the change - what is it that we want to quit doing and what do we wish to start doing?  We must label these things.

Three of the 12 principles of Agile with engineering
practices mapped to them (TDD, Pair Programming, etc).
When we tried to map our existing practices - we found
we didn't have very many disciplined practices, so this
is a mapping of a desired future state.

Typically it is easy - one applies the Waterfall label to the old and the Agile or Lean label or more specifically Scrum/XP or Kanban to the new.  That has worked for me in the past very well.  But what to do when it doesn't work?  What to do, if the company has brainwashed itself into thinking it is practicing Agile.

I must resist the Stockholm syndrome. That culture of just get it done - is not a process - and by any definition of the word - it is not Agile.

But then perhaps in a moment of desperation they look around and ask - "what are the principles"?  What is the foundational philosophy of this Scrum process?  We want to know these so that we will know where we can customize this process.  We want to know what we can bend, what we can circle around - how can we keep doing what our culture dictates and just install the scrum.

Agile Culture Series Reading Guide Written by: Michael Sahota

How many times does a process get broken before it is tried - before it is adopted - before any experience what-so-ever with the designed process, we say "we can't do that - we must change it" - not our selves - we change the process.  We all know that it is easier to change something else than it is to change ourselves.  So we search for the exceptions that will prove the case that process step 23-C will not work here - we have decided that we are so special that the Sun actually revolves around us.

Scrum designers have done a wonderful job of defining a very small list of things that must be done - if you do them - then you are doing Scrum.  If you break the rules, bend the framework to suit you special case - well then do you think you will get the desired outcome?

So that first question of what are the principles may be more subversive than it appears.  Because if you slip up and define a gap in the principle fabric then there will be a hole for the monsters to slip back through.   Given that I'm not going to be able to articulate each principle and you will not quite understand my meaning just perfectly.  Is this not a slippery slope.

So if you want to customize your process - one that has been built/designed/tested/refactored over years by experts - and you think you are qualified to state when we can just re-jigger this piece, skipping that piece, it is just a waste, never understood it anyway, so we'll just do it our way.  Well I don't want any part of your bastardization.

If you want the principles - they were stated - as best we have found in the Manifesto.  Don't re-invent the principles - just re-use them.


Exercise :: Mapping Engineering Principles to Agile Practices (PDF) by David Koontz

Lovely space at Microsoft NERD center.
Mapping Engineering Practices to Agile Principles at
Agile Games 2011 in Cambridge.
Note circular whiteboard - awesome!

 
Trusted & Motivated People - a label for
one of 12 Agile principles is well supported
by 5 practices.
Jay summing up 'User Stories' supports 7 principles

David Koontz
Pointing at the root of our principles
Agile Manifesto


Another Exercise: The Definition of Done & Ready!

See Also:
Exercise:: Mapping Engineering Practices to Agile Principles article by David Koontz - includes PDF downloadable exercise.
The 12 Principles Ice Breaker by Gerard Chiva on Oikosofy
The Big List of Agile Practices - NOOP, Jurgen Appelo an alternative list of engineering practices to map to the Agile Principles



1 comment

Most Popular on Agile Complexification Inverter

Innovation in the Automobile Industry

In the 1900s the automobile industry was the most important and innovation industry in the USA.  But one could question if this was good for our society in the long run.  And one could question if they actually innovated.

In the early 1900s there were few automobiles, very little infrastructure created to support the industry.  For example the road system was still designed for horse drawn wagons and the wagon wheel (remember a steal rim and wooden compression spoke wheel).  The future US Highways, or the 1950s Interstate Highway System at the cost of $425 billion were decades and many innovations away. There was no gas service station, there were however horse stables, farriers, and blacksmiths in each town along the roads.  There was no real "road map", there was no road naming system, like was created in 1926 - the United States Numbered Highway System.

The industry employees millions of people, and was a large factor in the economy of the USA.  It created or was created b…

Software Development terms applied to Home Construction

Let's Invert the typically wrong headed view of Software Development project management as a construction project.  We can map it the other way just to see if it works... to have some fun, to explore the meaning of phrases we toss around quite frequently.


Normally Project Management terms come from a construction domain.  We are going to apply the lexicon of modern software to the construction of a home.  We will follow the construction project and meet some of the people doing the work.

This is a very small (8 homes from $600,000 skyward) program in my 30-40 year old neighborhood.

About 6 months ago I saw the programs landing page go up.  It gives casual observers and some of the stakeholders a general idea of the intent of the program.  And most importantly who to contact for additional information if you happen to be interested in their products.

The Refuge program has 8 product projects and has them running independently.  Yet much of their DevOps infrastructure has already b…

Timeline of Social Networks -or- the Long Haul

I was listening to KERA's Think and they mentioned the concept of social networks.  It got me think...

But the book Long Haul, is its own interesting story - A Million Miles and Counting - A Trucker's Tale.

“The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road”
Did you know 41 million people move in the US a year?  Having moved a few times in my life, sometime with the Bed-Bugger's help, this book is a great insight into that life.
Author: Finn Murphy's CB handle - "U-Turn" The radio interview noted the concept of social networks in the 21st century.  What is a highway - but a manifestation of a social network - a trail across the land.

a timeline using the Knight Lab Timeline JS tool kit.

See Also:

Social Media - Tracking its Exponential Growth video
Social media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
List of social networking websites - Wikipedia

The World's 21 Most Important Social Media Sites and Apps in 2015



The Growth of Social Media - infog…

David's notes on "Drive"

- "The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us" by Dan Pink.

Amazon book order
What I notice first and really like is the subtle implication in the shadow of the "i" in Drive is a person taking one step in a running motion.  This brings to mind the old saying - "there is no I in TEAM".  There is however a ME in TEAM, and there is an I in DRIVE.  And when one talks about motivating a team or an individual - it all starts with - what's in it for me.

Introduction

Pink starts with an early experiment with monkeys on problem solving.  Seems the monkeys were much better problem solver's than the scientist thought they should be.  This 1949 experiment is explained as the early understanding of motivation.  At the time there were two main drivers of motivation:  biological & external influences.  Harry F. Harlow defines the third drive in a novel theory:  "The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward" (p 3).  This is Dan Pink's M…

One Dark and Stormy during a Hurricane

I'm from the Carolina's where legend has it that our family commonly just hunkered down in the home on the coast and waterways than to head for inland shelter. Now that's from the old school days of barely improved (read paved) roads. They counted a storms severity by how high on the back porch steps (about 15 - top to ground) the water reached.  I don't recommend this action in todays world of long range forecast and transportation options.

I do recommend a drink or two in a hotel bar, far far away.

This is the week that Harvey came ashore in Texas.  I live on a hill in the little old town of Grapevine outside Dallas and Fort Worth.  And thank you all for letting me know that a storm is coming... I didn't get out and walk Malibu before the rain hit, so I grabbed a hat and we went anyway.  Much nicer walk with the drizzle, I'd say.

I'll raise a glass to you - if you were not smart enough to do the responsible thing, at the last responsible moment.

I do re…