Last June I had the pleasure to attend a very interesting workshop about Modern Agile hosted in Cagliari by CREA – Unica and hold by Joshua Kerievsky. Joshua invented the Modern Agile [MA] methodology which he teaches in workshops all around the world, and he is also CEO of Industrial Logic, a MA consultancy company.
The starting point of his lesson was discouraging us from believing in the Agile methodology dogma in which rituals such as Scrum, Sprints, Story Points are considered worth for themselves. He rather invited us to think about the need to focus on achieving outcomes over outputs, delivering and creating value rather than products. Value for customers and the entire company.
4 Principles of Modern Agile and their benefits for the business
Modern Agile is defined by four guiding principles able to help you achieve better results faster, creating a happy workplace and get awesome outcomes.
Make People Awesome
Businesses are ecosystems where there are different protagonists, people who use, make, buy, sell or fund your products or services, whom we can divide into two main groups: the customers and the company teams. To get great outcomes we need to fully understand context and pain points of both groups, what holds them back and what they aspire to achieve. Trying to think about their experience and replying to the question ‘How can we make these people awesome?’ will get the business to great result and real growth.
Each MA principle can be translated into an obsession: for this principle, the obsession is for the customers and the people in the company rather than for the competitors.
Make Safety a Prerequisite
Think about how much is important for you to use a service that doesn’t crash, doesn’t create any hazard and make you feel protected and cared about. According to MA, security is a basic human need and a doorway to excellence. Businesses able to thrive are those that protect people’s time, information, reputation, money, health, and relationships. Increasing safety in your business culture, products, services, and infrastructure you can create a safe environment, but you need also to be sure this safety is perceived (and you need to measure this!).
With this principle comes the obsession for treating others respectfully and practice patience thinking long-term.
Experiment & Learn Rapidly
In business we need to test first to get things right, learning rapidly by experimenting frequently. Building a culture of experimentation through this principle, MA is able to assure businesses are “safe to fail”, being sure people are not afraid to conduct more experiments.
With this principle come the eagerness to invent, simplify and pioneer along with the willingness to test, prototype (even faking it!) and to fail being constantly obsessed with data and measurement.
Deliver Value Continuously
If you want to grow you need to get value to your customer’s hands rapidly. According to MA delivering value continuously requires businesses to divide larger amounts of value into smaller pieces that may be delivered safely now rather than later. This can be done through the Evolutionary Design practice explained in the figure below which refers to the building of a primitive guitar (representing here any tool or product) fully assembled yet extremely under-developed version of a finished tool or product. The primitive starting guitar is under-developed but it is a whole (not a bunch of unassembled guitar parts) and will evolve based on needs, priorities, risks and feedback allowing the company to deliver value continuously. [Find yourself the similarities with the Growth Driven Design approach.]
With this principle comes the obsession for engaging the entire team to continually uncover better ways of working, taking professional pride in operational excellence, identifying friction points and simplifying business processes.
What do you think about these principles? Are you already picturing ways to apply them to your business processes?
Personally, I find all the 4 principles of Modern Agile really inspirational. What I appreciate the most about the approach is the fact that Agility starts from the Customer Experience and then moves to technology, aiming to obtain fans and advocates (both on customer side and employees side) building better experiences and better workplaces. Things we will never stop needing.
- Modern Agile Official website
- Industrial Logic Blog – Modern Agile [3 November 2015]
- Industrial Logic Blog – Evolutionary Design [12 August 2015]
- Willem-Jan Ageling via Medium, Modern Agile — an introduction to an awesome concept [16 March 2018]
- John Cutler via Medium, Why Modern Agile is Worth Checking Out [21 November 2017]
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