As Agile coaching and conferences continue on many years after the Agile Manifesto was crafted, more & more topics & practices are proposed for addition to the definition of Agile. Most are darn good & interesting topics that help people better develop products & services. That’s good — I want to read about them, attend all the workshops, and use them.
But, I also wonder if we should add them to the definition of Agile, as if Agile is a container for all things good. Or instead, should we treat those additional things as separate independent aspects that can be mixed and matched as deemed useful? Maybe we should even keep Agile mostly focused on the key aspect of lowering the cost of change, and think of it as working in harmony/synergy with other aspects of Lean, Design Thinking, Lean Startup, empathy, safety, flow, etc. Agile can then settle into being an important part of the bigger goal of value creation, and rejoice in the ever-growing number of synergistic associates.
It’s kind of a design and naming question. Should Agile keep growing its list of responsibilities, or stay focused on one responsibility among many useful other aspects in a bigger program of independent objects? For the programmers among us, Agile could be considered a god class with lots of responsibilities, and people want to add in more responsibilities. But that doesn’t seem aligned with the Single Responsibility principle (only one reason to change) or the Open-Closed principle (open for extension but closed for modification), etc. Maybe that’s OK for now. Agile is young. Product & service development is even young, in the grand scheme of things.
As a thought experiment, let’s look ahead some years. The definition of Agile could keep on growing to include neuroscience, game theory, mob programming, Non-Violent Communication (NVC), kindness, empathy, awareness, mindfulness, meditation, creativity, Design Thinking, Lean Startup, systems thinking, Lean, diversity, on-site food and games, exercise, music, play, etc. etc. It would likely be hard to agree on the definition, and checklists, and it would keep changing (v1, v2, v3, …).
Or, we can say, “Yes, and…”
We can embrace those things as good things, good ingredients in our recipe for developing products & services, without calling those new things as part of Agile — old, new, or newer.
It feels like some broader name will emerge as a holder for good things in the development of products & services, e.g. Value Development, Value Creation, Value Amplification, …
Or, maybe all good ideas simply become part of the way people build products & services, and the conversations turn more & more to what is worth building on this small blue ball in space. I look forward to more of those conversations.
There is some underlying essence or spirit in the Agile community that transcends debates on practices. I hold out hope for this spirit and simple values & principles. I’m less concerned about the names we use.
For now, what do you think? Should we keep adding to the Agile definition, or start teasing apart the good ideas into independent aspects that can be mixed and matched?