The fourth agile value according to the Agile Manifesto is literally: “Responding to change over following a plan.” In my opinion, this is the key value that fulfills the Agile manifesto and makes it complete. It is equally useful for software companies as for some “traditional” ones. The philosophy is the same.
Although I try not to have a time connotation in my texts, this time the time component is very strong. Today, the whole world is fighting the Coronavirus, with more or less success.
The business is run in ever more uncertain conditions, where the situation changes literally from day to day.
In such an environment, this agile value seems like a torch-lit in a completely dark cave and where the light reaches barely a few meters in front of us and illuminates the path we are taking. Well, that’s just enough! We move more slowly, notice irregularities, sharp edges, and successfully avoid them. With each step, we are closer to the goal, moving slowly and making decisions only on the basis of those parameters that we know. But even that is enough for us to move safely.
If you are wondering if you should have a plan, my answer is YES.
The essence and the key difference is that you don’t have to follow it strictly as you had previously set out, as long as you are moving towards your goal. If you encounter obstacles, don’t lose energy trying to get through or over them, but try to avoid them. Although it means that you should get off the well-paved road on the dirt one, although it means that you will get dirty or you will be more uncomfortable. One thing is important, you are still moving towards the goal and at some point, you will again “come across” a better and more comfortable path.
What is the alternative? Standing on a wide and beautiful road, stopped in front of an obstacle and waiting for someone to remove them? If anyone shows up.
Agile leaders know how important this value is. That is why they constantly listen to changes and make decisions in a very complex and uncertain environment.
Agile leadership helps us understand the environment in which we operate and the people we lead better.
The agile values described by the Agile Manifesto are usable in every sphere of life, because they do not offer us ready-made solutions, but a different point of view and therefore have power in every context in which we want to apply them.