Lean-Agile Manifesto

October 21, 2017 — Posted by Al Shalloway

I have been updating this on linkedin. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lean-agile-manifesto-al-shalloway/

You should go there and read it instead of the following as the linkedin copy is live.  Below is the original.

First, I mean no disrespect to the Agile Manifesto. It was an incredible rallying cry for those of us who were doing that was later called 'Agile' by the manifesto. I recollect having troubles naming what we did prior to the manifesto. Once I used the term - iterative, incremental, integrated. It was awkward. Many of us knew what we were trying to accomplish but didn't have a name for it. The Agile Manifesto gave us that name. A few months ago, in A Personal Manifesto, I said I would not try to rewrite the Agile Manifesto.  

The intent of this blog is not trying to do that (although it may appear to be doing so).  However, in a few interactions I've had with both aging and entrepreneurial companies in the last couple of weeks, I've seen the manifesto's focus on teams and working software has become impediments to these organizations.  While the companies are of varying sizes, a team focus is not the proper solution for them and is currently working against them.  A larger view is needed.  Some are tempted to use a large framework so they can move forward.  While frameworks may be useful at times (both large and small ones) I believe a set of guidelines to use to discover how to improve is ultimately more important.

I have been developing software for almost five decades.  Each year the need for effective software and the rate of its development increases.  16 years ago we were in a different world, so to speak.  This is due not only to technology improvements that enable faster deliver of software but the incredible pervasiveness of the software itself.  We continue to learn and must be willing to adopt new methods.  

I present the following not as a real manifesto.  To be candid, I wrote this in about 45 minutes.  It's mostly a way to state how we can improve where we come from and to be a point of discussion.  I do not feel we need a new manifesto and repeat my statement that had I been at Snowbird in 2001 I doubt I would have contributed significantly to it.  But I also believe that holding onto a definition 16 years old for a movement that is increasing in velocity of change, is being used in significantly larger organizations and is now being adopted by people who are often adverse to change is not sensible.  While not trying to speak for anyone else, there is a growing community that I believe reflect these thoughts.  I am not looking for people to agree or disagree with this.  I am looking to start a conversation about what we should be doing. 

Manifesto for Lean-Agile Software Development

We continue to uncover better ways for the faster realization of business value predictably, sustainably and with high quality. Through this work we have come to value:

Global optimization over local optimization
Value realized over team deliveries
Visibility across the enterprise over individual collaboration
The ability to respond to change over recognizing the need to change
Flow over small batch planning
Continuously looking for methods of improvement over using proven practices

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
Principles behind the Lean-Agile Manifesto
We follow these principles:
1.   Our highest priority is the realization of business value quickly, predictably, sustainably and with
high value through a focus on identifying the minimum business increments that 
can be realized and ensure every knows what these are.
2.   Allocate your capacity to work on the more important items before working on items 
of lesser importance.  Accomplish this through effective management of work in process.
3.   Have teams work as part of a bigger whole. 
They must put the priorities of the organization above their own by attending to the effect
their work has on other teams and groups both upstream and downstream of them. 
Their focus must be on value realized, not demonstrating their software.
4. Recognize that systems thinking is important and that most of our errors come from ineffective systems. 
5.    Management's role is to create the eco-system within which 
developers can manifest the strategies of the business.  
Leadership, management and those doing the work must work together daily. 
Everyone must foster an environment of trust and recognize that
people are inherently motivated, although bad systems may obscure that fact.
6.    The most efficient and effective method of  conveying
information to and within a team is face-to-face conversation.
7.    Value realized is the primary measure of overall process.  
Working software is the primary measure of team process.
8.  Sustainability is key.  This can be achieved by attending to visibility, managing work in process, 
improving the eco-system of the organization and an overall agreement to work together for value realization. 
Sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
10. A focus on eliminating delays in workflow, feedback, and timely utilization of information is essential
11. Authority should be pushed as far down in the organization to enable
those doing the work to make decisions about how to do their work
12. At regular intervals, all roles reflect on how to become more effective,
then tunes and adjusts their behavior accordingly.
Subscribe to our blog Net Objectives Thoughts Blog

Share this:

About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With 45 years of experience, Al is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas.


Al, it is totally amazing that you did this in 45 minutes. It's obvious that you have all of this deeply internalized!

Anyway, I think you are spot on. This is a fairly comprehensive encapsulation of the current state of knowledge. At first blush, it seems as though it only needs some minor wordsmithing (like the typo of "quickly" instead of "quality").

The hard part is spotting gaps and omissions. I will think hard on this to see if I can find any, but I'm having my doubts.

Thank you for writing this. I will be sharing it widely!


Curt Thanks. Yeah, i'm kind of obsessed with this stuff. I have been updating it on the linkedin post - so you might direct them there. I added that link into the blog above.

Blog Authors

Al Shalloway
Business, Operations, Process, Sales, Agile Design and Patterns, Personal Development, Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Cory Foy
Change Management, Innovation Games, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile
Guy Beaver
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Management, Operations, DevOps, Planning/Estimation, Change Management, Lean Implementation, Transitioning to Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Scrum
Israel Gat
Business and Strategy Development, DevOps, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean, Kanban, Scrum
Jim Trott
Business and Strategy Development, Analysis and Design Methods, Change Management, Knowledge Management, Lean Implementation, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile, Workflow, Technical Writing, Certifications, Coaching, Mentoring, Online Training, Professional Development, Agile, Lean-Agile, SAFe, Kanban
Ken Pugh
Agile Design and Patterns, Software Design, Design Patterns, C++, C#, Java, Technical Writing, TDD, ATDD, Certifications, Coaching, Mentoring, Professional Development, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Marc Danziger
Business and Strategy Development, Change Management, Team Agility, Online Communities, Promotional Initiatives, Sales and Marketing Collateral
Max Guernsey
Analysis and Design Methods, Planning/Estimation, Database Agility, Design Patterns, TDD, TDD Databases, ATDD, Lean-Agile, Scrum
Scott Bain
Analysis and Design Methods, Agile Design and Patterns, Software Design, Design Patterns, Technical Writing, TDD, Coaching, Mentoring, Online Training, Professional Development, Agile
Steve Thomas
Business and Strategy Development, Change Management, Lean Implementation, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile
Tom Grant
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Management, DevOps, Analyst, Analysis and Design Methods, Planning/Estimation, Innovation Games, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, Kanban