The Guiding Principles of Agile Project Management

Individual knowledge, the interactions of knowledgeable team members , and the team's ability to learn and apply new knowledge drive success. Success in an agile context is about people and their interactions, not structure and process. And since people are guided by their value systems, creating agility depends on aligning the environment with their value systemswhich is why implementing APM will be nearly impossible for some teams and organizations. APM is value driven because people are value driven. A team can employ agile practices, but it won't achieve the potential benefit of agile development without embracing agile values and principles.

According to Carl Larson and Frank LaFasto (1989), whose research is source material for a long list of teamwork books, principled leadership is one of the most critical of the eight characteristics of effective teams. In high-performance teams, "the leaders managed the principles, and the principles managed the team."

Six principles, derived from the core values of the Agile Manifesto, guide APM (see Figure 2.1). Without these guiding principles, even seemingly agile practicesiterative delivery, for exampleare often used in the wrong way, or even worse , used such that teams consider themselves agile when they aren't. These guiding principles can help teams determine what practices are appropriate, generate new practices when they are necessary, evaluate new practices that arise, and implement practices in an agile manner. The six principles are divided into two categories, one product and customer related and the other management related :

Figure 2.1. APM Guiding Principles

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Customer Value through Innovative Products

  • Deliver Customer Value
  • Employ Iterative, Feature-Based Delivery
  • Champion Technical Excellence

Leadership-Collaboration Management Style

  • Encourage Exploration
  • Build Adaptive ( Self-Organizing , Self-Disciplined) Teams
  • Simplify

These six principles form a system-of-principlesthey work together effectively. While separately each principle may be helpful, the six together create an environment that encourages emergent results. For example, delivering customer value and encouraging exploration are both linked to building self-organizing teams. The linkage reminds us that the product is built by the interactions of competent individuals who are constantly self-organizing. Similarly, championing technical excellence and encouraging exploration are linked in that one key goal of design should be to reduce the cost of change.

This chapter will address the customer- and product-oriented guiding principles, and Chapter 3 will cover the management principles.





Agile Project Management. Creating Innovative Products
Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products (2nd Edition)
ISBN: 0321658396
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 96
Authors: Jim Highsmith
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