The Manifesto for Scaling Agility

Origins

The Manifesto for Scaling Agility is a guide to Agile at scale that reflects the collective experience of Agile practitioners at Excella and across the Agile community. Modeled on the original Agile Manifesto, the Manifesto for Scaling Agility highlights diverse expertise in a variety of industries, not just software. Effective scaling is a challenge we all face.

Our goal is to foster a dialog around scaling approaches and techniques that acknowledges the inherent tradeoffs. We believe there is value in moving beyond the details of specific frameworks and focusing instead on principles that can be adapted to specific organizations and their contexts. In our experience, this approach leads to greater agility and increased resilience.

We welcome your thoughts as this dialog, and The Manifesto for Scaling Agility evolves.

Introduction

Agility at scale is the ability of multiple teams to effectively achieve a common purpose within highly dynamic environments.

Agile Scaling May Involve:

Graphic-for-scaling-manifesto_2 (1).png

These concepts require an evolutionary approach that aligns the work of flexible, autonomous teams to organizational objectives through continuous inspection and adaptation. Our values and principles are meant to enhance, not replace, the original Manifesto for Agile Software Development, but are applicable to all creative work, not just software development.

Values

In our work to help organizations become more agile, we have come to value:

  • Shared vision over aligned processes
  • Organic growth over pre-defined structure
  • High performing organization over high performing teams
  • Team-empowered responsibility over organizational policies

While there is value in the items on the right and the left; we value the items on the left more.


"Our values and principles are meant to enhance, not replace, the original Manifesto for Agile Software Development, but are applicable to all creative work, not just software development."

Supporting Principles

  1. If you can achieve your goals with a single team, do not scale. Employ the minimum number of people required to meet your strategic outcomes.
  2. If you have a single team and it cannot deliver effectively using Agile principles and practices, do not scale. Succeed with a single team first.
  3. Respect and trust your people; foster a climate of open, honest, rapid, and empathetic communication.
  4. Continuously improve across all levels and maintain focus on the whole; prioritize collective high performance over the performance of any individual team.
  5. Keep teams and their work loosely coupled to preserve flexibility; minimize handoffs and dependencies with
    cross-functional teams and clearly decomposed work.
  6. Radiate information between and among teams to develop shared understanding and promote asynchronous communication; create visibility across the entire work system.
  7. Aim for a minimally viable bureaucracy and nothing more; effective and repeatable practices, policies, and procedures will emerge as you scale.
  8. Decentralize decision-making; push authority to teams so that they can quickly take advantage of emerging opportunities.
  9. Prioritize experimentation for each individual team over conformity across the organization. Celebrate the learning that comes from experimentation—successes and failures— across all teams.
  10. Ensure each team is working towards the shared vision and delivering real value regularly and consistently. Demonstrate progress with frequent validations by stakeholders.