Agile Principles over Practices

page0010This morning I read a whitepaper written by Dwight Kingdon called “Agile – Principles over Practices“. The title caught my attention because this is exactly my main area of study lately. The Agile values and principles are the necessary foundation for every Agile transformation. However, often the most effort is put in adopting several practices. Although the practices by itself might be valuable, without really grasping the underlying principles it doesn’t contain a solid foundation. A mechanical implementation of Agile will be the result, and the necessary cultural change of mindset and behaviour won’t occur.

This is also emphasised in Dwight’s article, I’ll give a summary of some key points, please read the full article for the complete context;

Key Points

  • “Not paying attention to the principles behind Agile, and prioritising practices over principles, is one of the leading causes of Agile failure.”
  • “You can do all the practices perfectly, and still fail at Agile.”
  • “While Agile and Scrum practices are important, practices alone often lead to Agile failure. Agile principles and changing of software development culture are generally the harder parts, but they are what make Agile sustainable in the long run and maximise the great benefits it has to offer.
  • “It’s almost always the harder things – the principles – that give us the most benefit.”
  • “Real agile transformation is about establishing a culture that embraces open communication and collaboration between business and technical people across the enterprise. It’s about continuous improvement through inspection and adaption, and a culture of transparency and accountability.”
  • “Principles might seem common sense, but common sense is in reality, not very common.”

For the context of these key points, check Dwight’s article.