The project manager's Declaration of Interdependence
- I feel this email advisory from Jim Highsmith is important enough that I'm cross-posting it to the XP, Scrum, Crystal and APM groups. Apologies for the duplication to those of you who subscribe to all of those lists.The reason I feel this note is that important is that it represents modern project managers getting together and also declaring a shift in approach --- one that I wish / hope will eventually become so natural that people will be asked Why? if they don't monitor by value instead of effort, focus on people, etc etcRead Jim's words ...Welcome to the Agile Project Management E-Mail Advisor, a
weekly electronic briefing from Cutter Consortium's Agile Project
Management Advisory Service.
THE DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE
by Jim Highsmith, Director, Agile Project Management Practice
A group of managers from different project and product domains
came together recently to discover our common ground with respect
to Agile and Adaptive Management (Similar to the Agile Manifesto
meeting of 2001). This group represented people from the software
development community (Alistair Cockburn, Mike Cohn, me), the
product development community (Preston Smith), and the general
project management community (Doug DeCarlo, Robert Wysocki).
Six core values emerged from our collaboration. Together, they
form what we have named, "The Declaration of Interdependence" for
Agile-Adaptive Management (the name Agile-Adaptive is not
official at this point):
1. We increase return on investment by making continuous flow of
value our focus.
2. We deliver reliable results by engaging customers in frequent
interactions and shared ownership.
3. We manage uncertainty through iterations, anticipation, and
4. We unleash creativity and innovation by recognizing that
individuals are the ultimate source of value, and creating an
environment where they can make a difference.
5. We boost performance through group accountability for results
and shared responsibility for team effectiveness.
6. We improve effectiveness and reliability through situationally
specific strategies, processes, and practices.
[Copyright 2005 David Anderson, Sanjiv Augustine, Christopher
Avery, Alistair Cockburn, Mike Cohn, Doug DeCarlo, Donna
Fitzgerald, Jim Highsmith, Ole Jepsen, Lowell Lindstrom, Todd
Little, Kent MacDonald, Polyanna Pixton, Preston Smith and
The intention of this group is to form a membership organization
(our next step) to support agile, adaptive project and general
management (details will be posted on our Web site at
http://www.agileprojectmgt.com . Although this group is separate
from the Agile Alliance, our intention is to work closely with that
group within the software community, but also work with people
and companies outside of software and IT.
The title "Declaration of Interdependence" has multiple meanings. It
means that project team members are part of an interdependent
whole and not a group of unconnected individuals. It means that
project teams, their customers, and their stakeholders are also
interdependent. Project teams who do not recognize this
interdependence will rarely be successful.
These values also form an interdependent set. While each is
important independent of the others, the six form a system of values
that provides a modern view of managing projects, particularly the
complex, uncertain ones. The six statements -- value, uncertainty,
customers, individuals, teams, and context (situationally specific) --
define an inseparable whole. For example: It's hard to deliver value
without a customer who values something. It's hard to have viable
teams without recognizing individual contributions. It's hard to
manage uncertainty without applying situational specific strategies.
Each of the value statements have a distinct form -- why the item is
important precedes the description of the value. So, "increasing
return on investment" is why focusing on continuous flow of value
is important. The value statements emphasize the importance of
delivering reliable (not the same as repeatable) results, managing
uncertainty, unleashing creativity and innovation, boosting
performance, and improving effectiveness.
Each of the means statements conveys what this group thinks are the
most important aspects of modern project management, and they also
attempt to differentiate an agile-adaptive style of project
management. For example, in the last value statement, the phrase
"situationally specific strategies, processes, and practices," indicates
that these items should not be overly standardized and static, but
dynamic to fit the needs of projects and teams. Other styles of
project management are more prone to standardization and
If you are interested in more information on this organization, please
visit our Web site or follow the discussion on
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/agilemanagement/ . If you want
other information, please contact me directly at Cutter Consortium
-- Jim Highsmith, Director, Agile Project Management Practice