Agility Means Truthfulness

| by Mike Bria Follow 0 Followers on Oct 15, 2008. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Talk about agile can often tend toward the tangible things that people do day-to-day, toward the "process of agile", but true agility is really less about process and more about principle. Travis Birch presents his perspective about some of these more intangible aspects of agile, namely "truthfulness".

At it's heart not a revolutionary statement, but Birch presents a refreshing and succinct reminder about a fundamental undercurrent of effective agility, truthfulness:

Agile methods are made of processes, principles and tools. But most importantly they are concerned with people. Therefore, Truthfulness is the foundation of success in an Agile organization.

Although Agile cannot force people to be truthful, it reveals the direct consequences of opacity in an organization, confronts it and challenges it to change.
Agile exposes the true character of an organization’s culture and forces visibility on all levels.
Agile can be implemented anywhere people do work together. Visibility of work, openness of consultation and a strong collaborative spirit feeds an overall feeling of excitement and optimism in an Agile team. [...] But of course, in order for a team to build up these capabilities, it must establish, maintain and defend a firm and immovable foundation of truthfulness.

Surrounding this central point, Birch presents a quick-hitting description of some of the other intangible fundamentals of Agile. A few highlights of these points:

  • agile means prioritizing by value rather than dependency
  • agile is about learning, adapting and striving for the ideal
  • agile teams are empowered by its responsibility to self-organize around contributing customer value to the organization
  • an agile environment is one where change is natural, not risky; where a "state of crisis is an embraced opportunity to learn and improve"

Take a moment to check out Birch's take on what really makes agile special, you may find it to be a refreshing reminder for yourself or for someone you know.

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Link Missing? by Dave Rooney

Sounds interesting... was there supposed to be a link to Travis' original work?

Dave Rooney
Mayford Technologies

Re: Link Missing? by Dave Rooney

Re: Link Missing? by Mike Bria

Duh me!!! Yes, that's the link. Thanks Dave!

Re: Link Missing? by Mark Levison

Mishkin Berteig (also of agileadvice) has done some thinking on the subject. See:

While curing cancer .. by Cameron Purdy

Therefore, Truthfulness is the foundation of success in an Agile organization.

This does appear to follow the whole "agile = good" train of thought.

I hate to be the cynic, but it turns out that truthfulness is the foundation of success in any functional organization.


Cameron Purdy | Oracle

Re: While curing cancer .. by Mike Bria

Cameron, your point is completely accurate.

I suppose my take is that, frankly, agile methods place a much more real emphasis on doing things in a way that optimize an orgz awareness of the truth, and moreso then a greater emphasis on requiring people acknowledge and react to it.

No doubt, "truthfulness" is critical to success (or failure) of any organization - so is "quality" and "customer value", among other things. The (admittedly subjective) case is that agile places a higher value on acknowledging that.

(BTW, I appreciate your sense of humor!)


Re: While curing cancer .. by Kevin E. Schlabach

With Mike in response to Cameron... it is funny to think about how truthfulness is critical in any functional organization or process, but many of us have seen how untruthfulness can survive for quite a while in a gamed system. I spent two years in a global 50 company where managers remained in power using untruthfulness to survive before the real issues were exposed and some of them were removed.

Agile provides much more to keep this from happening.

Kevin E. Schlabach

Re: While curing cancer .. by Cameron Purdy

.. yup, there is quote a bit of dysfunction in the world of business, and it always amazes me how dysfunction can exist for years in a company without killing that company!


Cameron Purdy
Oracle Coherence: The only Real-Time Data Grid

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