12 Principles of Agile Adapted — Principle #1

Last week I was co-leading a training with one of my new colleagues. The class was 2 parts and the first part was a refresh on Agile basics including the Agile Manifesto and the supporting 12 Principles. Although the content of the presentation deck was not new, some of the exercises were. One of the first exercises we did was having the class break up into groups and distill the 12 Principles of Agile into 3 word statements. This worked really well, but also inspired 12 blog posts for me. My plan is to interpret each principle for use IRL (in real life) and not just at work.

I’m not promising to go in order, but for the first post I thought I ought to start with the first principle.

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

Obviously this principle is about teams delivering value early and continuously. I’m not usually delivering “products” outside of work, but I am sharing and spending one very valuable asset — time.

I, like most adults, have a limited amount of free time so I want to get the most out of it that I can. This usually means I can’t get to every chore and I can’t do every fun thing either so I need to prioritize how I spend my time to achieve a balance between productivity and fun.

Errands and chores typically fall into 2 categories: immediate need or nice-to-have. Driving my kid to practice or buying new deodorant when I have run out is an immediate need, but cleaning out the coat closet and getting an early start on holiday shopping are nice-to-haves.

Social and leisure activity falls into similar categories: stuff you feel like you should do or stuff you really want to do. Too often I have said “yes” to something I didn’t really want to do, but felt I should, but when I do get the word “no” out of my mouth the guilt passes quickly as I enjoy more time doing what I want to do. Sometimes that means doing nothing.

So the first principle of AgileIRL is:

My highest priority is to satisfy the needs of my family and myself by ensuring that I spend my time effectively on both things I have to do and things I want to do.