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Agility Means Truthfulness

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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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