Agile Project Management

What is Declaration of Interdependence?

*** if you are a new convert to Agile, then this topic may sound alien to you ***

Some people say that the Agile manifesto is at a high level and reading it, makes one wonder if there is more to the story.

Well, the story didn’t just stop there and there is plenty of evolution that has passed and we are seeing changes every single day. That’s the beauty of it.

What followed the Agile manifesto was a simpler set of principles that could be better stood. It was referred to as declaration of interdependence – like declaration of independence. It was conceived by tall Agilists of the time and it was made up of six principles. In verbatim, here it is.

– We increase return on investment by making continuous flow of value our focus.

– We deliver reliable results by engaging customers in frequent interactions and shared ownership.

– We expect uncertainty and manage for it through iterations, anticipation, and adaptation.

– We unleash creativity and innovation by recognizing that individuals are the ultimate source of value, and creating an environment where they can make a difference.

– We boost performance through group accountability for results and shared responsibility for team effectiveness.

– We improve effectiveness and reliability through situationally specific strategies, processes and practices.

©2005 David Anderson, Sanjiv Augustine, Christopher Avery, Alistair Cockburn, Mike Cohn, Doug DeCarlo, Donna Fitzgerald, Jim Highsmith, Ole Jepsen, Lowell Lindstrom, Todd Little, Kent McDonald, Pollyanna Pixton, Preston Smith and Robert Wysocki.

Who benefits from the Declaration of Interdependence?

In other words, if you ask me, who needs to know the declaration of interdependence – it’s for anyone working in the Agile space. These are as basic as they can get. If you don’t use as them as guidance markers, then the whole objective of Agile is being lost somewhere along the way.

Return on Investment

No project is run in the software world for the sake of charity, or at least no project is being delivered where the benefits cannot be conceived. So at the end of the day, we should be able to measure the return on investment. In Agile specifically, we do it through removal of impediments. In other words, running things continuously is how we make things efficient and seamless.

Reliable Results

Remember the graphic where the customer asks for a swing and by the time it goes through the process of requirement gathering, development and testing, the outcome looks like an abstract art. That’s exactly what we do not want. That’s where Agile steps up in asking for increased interactions with the customer and to make the customer share the development responsibilities.

Plus, we need to have some structure on how we write or develop code. We need to bring in different types of testing like unit testing and integration testing at appropriate stages. Through quality, we realize reliable results.

Expect Uncertainty

Uncertainty is in the middle of Agile project management. Or rather, we have Agile because things are so uncertain. We have to expect uncertainty, things shift all the time there’s going to be uncertainty.

So there’s uncertainty not just in the product backlog, the list of requirements. There’s also going to be uncertainty in the work that we do. It’s knowledge work things shift. We have lots of moving parts. We’re dealing with ourselves as a knowledge worker but also all the other people on the project team are knowledge workers. So there’s lots of things at play here. So expect uncertainty shouldn’t be a surprise.

How do we deal with it? Iterate into smaller chunks. Anticipate or read into what the customer wants and don’t be rigid on a process. Adapt to the work on hand.

It’s all about Creativity

There is nothing predictive in Agile. There it is an inherent talent that each of us must possess – to be creative to adapt and think on our feet.

We allow people to experiment and innovate and this is that idea that if they fail, let them fail fast so they can

rebound quickly.

But they have to be have the permission to be creative and to innovate and have a safe environment. That environment is Agile.

Boost Performance

We want to allow people to try new ways to do the work about getting things done faster or more creatively and to create better results.

Ultimately we need to be a servant leader who acts as a launchpad for boosting performance, and give people the tools and the equipment and the abilities to get things done in order to deliver on our promises.

The idea is to act as one team. To act as one team, we need to be able to share responsibilities, in other words, either the entire team wins or fails. There are no individual champions.

Effectiveness and Reliability

We learn from our mistakes and we learn from what we’ve done and that helps us to be more effective and more reliable.

You must be agile, not only know agile for your exam, you want to embrace these empirical processes this idea of being creative and innovative and boosting performance knowledge work is invisible work.

We have to get away from the mindset of command and control. That’s more of a predictive environment.

Agile is all about collaboration about people working together being in the same area being able to talk freely, to experiment, and then that helps us get to becoming efficient.

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