The Agile Manifesto is something most Agile practitioners should be familiar with. Its publication in 2001 could be considered a genesis of the modern Agile approach to software development. Its crisp articulation of Agile values and principles has since been critical to the method’s maturation. The Manifesto captures what it means to be Agile; that is to say, to be focused on value delivery, flexibility, and the people involved in the process.

People involved in the process. That sounds tricky. And indeed, it is.

People are what drive machines (mostly – we’re looking at you, AI/ML.) People are what keep our processes moving along smoothly. People are critical to identifying value, and organizing in such a way to delivery said value.

As it were, people also have bad days and good days. They have conflicts. They like to celebrate. They have wins and persistent challenges. They have needs, as basic as sleep and shelter; and as complex as recognition and relationships.

To have a process that inherently involves people, to be a people-first SDLC, begins with core values and principles. The Agile Manifesto covered this nicely. But as Agility expands beyond software development, as it begins to inform how entire organizations should function, we’re finding that teams need something more people-oriented than the original Manifesto.

Enter the Agile HR Manifesto ( Agile people ops – APF). We mentioned this quickly last time, describing how the Agile Manifesto directly inspired APF’s approach to articulating values and principles. Let’s talk a bit more about what those mean, and define what we feel is the next step in the Agile’s journey to company-wide adoption.

The APF Manifesto is as follows:

Teams of Teams over Traditional Hierarchies
Growth Mindset over Fixed Mindset
Coaching Culture over Command-and-Control
Transcultural Competence over Cultural Competence

Like its Agile counterpart, it too has supplementary Values:
Open Communication
Feedback
Commitment
Courage
Respect
Adaptability

Reading these, you may feel some are fairly self-evident: Shouldn’t all organizations nurture talent? Wouldn’t all companies have a growth mindset? The answer is no, not always. And that’s why APF is here to help. With clear principles, and a clear path toward cultural Agility, not just engineering Agility, APF serves to elevate teams and organizations to a higher level of effectiveness and empowerment.

As always, the How here is critical. And we’ll talk more about that in future blog posts. For now, let’s focus solely on the approach to adopting values and principles, and why this works.

The Agile Manifesto provided guidelines for how to develop software. It encouraged putting the big BRDs aside and collaborating more with customers. It advocated for breaking down silos, internally and externally. It revolutionized how we might consider feedback as part of the development process: The more frequent the feedback, the better the final product would become. It encouraged the quick real ease of functional software, instead of sitting on something that may lose relevance over its time in development.

Similarly, the APF Manifesto seeks to break down barriers, and calls for intentional (and sometimes uncomfortable!) change. It seeks to identify the potential in people, instead of keeping them “in their lane” for ever. It embraces challenges and efforts to improve mastery. It demands that we are more transparent, and we coach one another through feedback and opportunity. The APF Manifesto takes a global look at the world today, recognizing that the most successful teams may be distributed, but still incredibly effective.

As we talk more about APF, and dive into the implementation details, it will be critical to know why these efforts exist, and where it’s all coming from. The APF Manifesto helps ground us when making implantation-level details, like who should be involved in piloting new initiatives. It helps us organize our teams to be more collaborative. It provides guidance on who we should be hiring as the organization continues to grow.

We’re excited to have you on this journey with us as we begin to explore the possibilities of more Agile organizations, from software development, to corporate culture.

Stay Tuned for our Upcoming Sessions “Agile PeopleOps Framework: An Agile HR Solution”.

Author: Christopher Goscinski