October 2, 2014

What is value?

Scrum

We now have a set of core values from the manifesto and from XP. Let’s see what values we can derive from Scrum.
Scrum doesn’t list a set of values or principles. Scrum does have three pillars which form a cycle that is repeated throughout the process on small and larger cycles. These pillars are:
• Transparency
• Inspection
• Adaption
We can add these principles to our list:
25. We value transparency
26. We value the ability to improve ourselves, our process, our relationships and our code in iterative cycles
Scrum does have some implicit values such as
27. Commitment to deliver what we say we will deliver
I am sure there are others too.

Scaling Agile

We have now covered the core Agile values from methodologies that focus on a single team as well as the manifesto. Once we leave the team and focus more of the organisation we will see that the frameworks start to focus on how to deliver that value, rather than defining more items of value. For example, Lean talks about optimising the whole rather than individual parts. This is a way to derive more efficiency to bring core values faster to the customer. It is not a value as such, more a principal for delivering value.

Lean

Lean is stated as having a very clear goal: To deliver the maximum amount of value to the customer in the shortest possible time frame.
We can derive from this that
28. We value delivery of value in the fastest possible time frame.
29. We value maximising value to the customer
Both of these discuss value in the statement without qualifying what that value is.

However, we can be sensible about this and understand the meaning to be fast delivery and maximising any of the other elements of value we have already covered.

Scaled Agile Framework

We will now look at the Scaled Agile Framework for our next set of values. The SAFe has 4 core values, these are:
• Alignment – We value alignment across the organisation of strategy, compliance and vision.
• Code Quality – We value good code quality. It is impossible to scale based on bad code.
• Transparency
• Program execution – We value successful execution of the program
So from an organisations perspective we have the following values:
30. We value alignment across teams and individuals
31. We value good code quality
32. We value that our programs will execute correctly and be successful
We can note here that some of these values are the same as at the team and individual level, for example transparency and code quality. The implementation of precess may be different though. Transparency at the organisation level is different that at the individual and team levels and code quality metrics may well be different too.
Next we look to Lean. Lean enhances our processes as a whole. The is especially useful when dealing with more than one team. Lean has 8 principles according to Mary Poppendieck’s site:
a) Optimise the whole
Is a way to optimise delivering value. It is not a value within itself.
b) Focus on customers
Focusing on customers is very similar to the third principle from the Manifesto which emphasises customer collaboration. Again this is not a value as such but a way of generating that value

c) Energise workers
This is very similar to our

d) Eliminate waste
e) Learn first
f) Deliver fast
g) Build Quality in
h) Keep getting better

From the house of Lean as defined in SAFe, we also have:
a) Respect for people
b) Support and leadership from management
c) Continuous improvement
d) Shortest sustainable lead time
e) Best quality to people and society
f) Most customer delight
g) High morale
h) Safety

See Dean Leffingwell’s book: Agile Software Requirements.

By removing duplicates we have:

33. We value support and leadership from management
34. We value the shortest possible delivery
35. We value safety

That covers the agile processes. Now in the next post we will see if we can categorise these values and see what comes of that.

Simon Powers

Simon Powers is an Agile Coach specialising in large scale transformations and agile adoption. He has a background in very large enterprise architecture which has led on to organisational design and agile process refinement. Simon is the founder of Adventures with Agile.