Every Organization or Enterprise involves Business and Technology to deliver value to Clients or Customers. Business focuses on Performance against Intent and Technology focuses on Delivering Solutions. Solutions include products (hardware, software, etc.) and services, and generally anything produced as a result of a Process that Clients or Customers value. To be competitive in the Marketplace, an Organization or Enterprise must be optimal in creating value and responsive to change. Optimization in creating value is achieved through a more Lean approach and responsiveness to change is achieved through a more Agile approach, both involve other proven industry-recognized best practices (values, principles, and techniques).
Generally, Leanness, Agility, and Competitiveness are paradigms, each with core concepts and first principles. Likewise, given the historical context of Six Sigma, it ought to be considered relative to Lean.
Lean focuses on eliminating waste from a process. Six Sigma focuses on reducing variation in a process and reducing defects in a product (or result of a process). Agility focuses on sustainably (efficiently and effectively) recognizing and responding to change. Competitiveness focuses on achieving market dominance or sustainable influence in a market.
“Agile (Software Development) is Failing! Help!” has become the common cry of far too many teams and organizations trying to “do Agile”. When we delve into root causes, we discover an emphasis on Practices (or “doing or transitioning to a set of Practices”) rather than Values and Principles (or “engendering or transforming their Values and Principles”).
Consider: What is of worth to you? What guides your decisions and actions (in any endeavor toward a goal) relative to that which is of worth to you? What actions do you enact (in any endeavor toward a goal) relative to that which guides your decisions and actions and relative to that which is of worth to you?
Values are what we find of worth. Values are eternal and address “why” we do what we do. They establish our ends or goals.
Principles are guides that influence our observations, orientation, decisions, and actions. Principles are essential and address “what” shapes our observations, “what” shapes our orientation, “what” shapes our decisions, and “what” shapes our actions. They influence the means or methods/techniques by which we achieve our ends or goals.
Practices are actions. Practices are contextual and address “how” we enact our decisions as actions. They are the context-specific means or methods/techniques we enact to achieve our ends or goals.
More traditional approaches emphasized Practices more-so and Values and Principles less-so; more modern approaches emphasize Principles and Values more-so and Practices less-so; and perhaps post-modern approaches might emphasize Patterns that bind Values and Principles with emergent Practices based on Context. Generally, there is an awakening to Context.
There are indeed challenges where teams and organizations apply a Transitional Practice-based approach rather than a Transformational Value/Principle-based approach.
But, Is Agile Failing or Are We Failing with Agile?