The core now explicitly lists the three foundational components:
- A learning organization: The 5 characteristics of an organization that is continuously learning and transforming itself.
- Lean: The 7 principles of lean development.
- Agile: The 4 values and 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto.
Business: Prioritizing work based on customer value, sound economics, risk/reward tradeoffs along with and flowing that value as quickly as possible – by combing essential tasks as eliminating or reducing the impact of non-value-add tasks – to produce the best possible business outcome.
Technical: This is software development-specific, where we need to be striving for technical excellence, maintaining good design and leveraging specific practices that support and improve the ability to produce the greatest business outcome for the last amount of effort expended.
Health: This includes things such as a sustainable pace, effective, efficient communication, minimal politics, autonomy, trust, respective inquiry, accountability, commitment, development of people and teams, clarity, and alignment of people, teams and the organization. All of which influence long-term productivity and organizational viability.
Revolving around this core are the three interrelated entities that need to support agility by embracing and exhibiting certain qualities (mindset, approach, behaviors/actions) of the values and principles contained within the core. These entities flow from one to another, reinforcing and supporting each other.
The next step is to articulate how this agile model should be applied, recognizing that organizations are not only different, but that they will be starting from different points. I wanted a simple expression that captures what I consider to be the key principle to use in applying agile, meaning that the expression must, a) stand the test of time, allowing for new practices and techniques to be introduced, b) be succinct, and c) be comprehensible.
I settled on two words: Disciplined Simplicity.
Think about it for a minute. Being disciplined allows us to get away from considering agile as ad-hoc; we can have the conversation about what agile discipline looks like. Discipline exists, from being disciplined about what our priorities are from a business perspective to how we’re implementing those priorities from a technical perspective to how we’re treating people who are doing the work.
Simplicity, on the other hand, gets us thinking and talking about what the shortest, most direct approach that is possible while remaining disciplined. We have an overdose of process discipline in most organizations, and focusing on optimizing the value stream (and optimizing the whole) using a lightweight – yet disciplined – approach will mean discarding certain things that companies value today in favor of other approaches.
Understanding what Disciplined Simplicity means across the businesses, technical, and health domains requires a great deal more effort than understanding something like the Scrum framework or one or two technical practices. Disciplined Simplicity gets us thinking about how to cut through the complex in very direct ways, creating a bridge from our current state to produce a variety of desirable outcomes based on the values and principles of learning, lean and agile organizations (I’m sure that you can think of other desirable outcomes):
What do you think? Does Disciplined Simplicity qualify as a fundamental principle for applying lean and agile?