How the Agile Alliance board makes decisions

How the Agile Alliance Board Makes Decisions

A long time ago, in a country far, far away, or at least far away from us as we write this, the Agile Alliance board decided to ask themselves two questions:

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. How do we remain relevant and credible?

The board at the time decided to update our vision and mission and to define a framework of “value dials” we could use to decide what kinds of topics were important to us and our members.

As part of this process, we were starting from the most basic proposition and defining our reason for being. The board chair at that time decided to switch from vision/mission to core values and principles/foundation/ambition. And while the conversations lasted through multiple boards, with directors coming and going, we finally agreed on the “final” version somewhat recently.

So what is our raison d’etre?

If we’re going to dig into the value dials, we should start by saying a few words about our reasons for being.

Starting from the base of this picture and working our way up:

Our core values and principles

Agile Alliance is a global non-profit member organization
founded on the Manifesto for Agile Software Development

It doesn’t get more basic than that. We were originally formed by a group including several signatories of the Agile Manifesto, and Agile Alliance still remains true to these roots and the values of the Manifesto. We were founded at the beginning of the Agile Manifesto era, and we will continue to believe in those statements.

Our foundation

We support people and organizations
who explore, apply and expand
Agile values, principles and practices

At the very basic, being the big, non-sectarian tent, Agile Alliance’s role in the world is to support people who practice, investigate, learn about, and explore Agile values, principles, and practices. We are sometimes leaders and sometimes servants to that universe of people and organizations.

Our ambition

To create spaces for people and organizations
seeking to humanely, effectively and sustainably
discover and deliver outcomes that matter

Our ambition describes how we support the foundation and core values and principles described above. We create safe spaces where conversations, learning, debates, and discoveries can happen. We spent hours and days arguing over the adverbs above to make sure we were holding true to the intent of the Agile movement, and we believe we have managed to do so.

The value dials: Our decision-making framework

But how do we make sure we choose a direction that supports our promises and ambitions, that holds us accountable to our values, and ensures we make good decisions that are true to our foundations?

Bring in the value dials!

The value dials sit on top of our values, foundations and ambition statements and are the framework of how we, as the Board, make decisions. We use these dials, and actively discuss each of them, while we’re debating actions, initiatives, and plans for Agile Alliance. This framework helps us make decisions informed by conscious thought and consistent direction to fulfill our obligation to our membership.

Today, in the interests of transparency and understanding, we are sharing these value dials with you. In the following sections, you’ll see the name of a particular value dial and a series of statements we’ve used to further understand and state our objective in furthering Agile Alliance’s contribution to the community and our members. To be completely honest, we do our best to hold true to all of the statements below, but some of them are still more aspirational. We intend to live up to all of them, and we’re still climbing the ladder to get to that point for some.

We are increasing the depth and breadth of Agile

The first value dial describes how we contribute to the growth in understanding and adoption of Agile and Agility inside its current bounds and help extend it outside those bounds.

We are increasing the Depth and Breadth of Agile

We support organizations that apply Agile values and principles and people in all roles across the ever-evolving Agile ecosystem.

We push the boundaries every day by challenging the status quo, encouraging and driving innovation while embracing change.

We create, share, and amplify knowledge and experiences that advance the depth and breadth of Agile.

We seek out, incorporate, and build on knowledge from other domains in our learning.

We are increasingly valuable to our members and communities

This dial is about the services we offer and the impact those services have on those we provide them to. These statements guide us as we consider the value proposition of Agile Alliance and in which directions to grow. We want our efforts to be focused on offering more value and more information to those practicing Agile, and this dial guides us in making those decisions.

We are increasingly valuable to our Members and Communities

We respond to our members’ needs throughout their Agile journey.

We create and support a growing portfolio of active member initiatives.

We provide relevant services, including conferences, online content, and more, which are available and valuable to a wide range of members and the community.

We create and build on strong foundations for young professionals and other people new to Agile.

We are a global, inclusive, and diverse community

We work particularly hard on this one, as having a global and inclusive view of our organization, our members, and the overall Agile community is critical to our foundation and ambition. Agile Alliance works very hard to have a broad and varied view of the world, give a voice to as many members of our community as we can, and find other communities where we can connect to increase both our reach and the reach of agility. These four statements help us formulate plans to accomplish that goal.

We are a Global, Inclusive, and Diverse Community

We seek representation from and are recognized in all parts of the world.

We create an environment where community members feel their voices are heard and participation is valued.

We actively seek input from multiple perspectives, cultures, experiences, etc.

We reach out to other communities to develop deeper and broader connections.

We are credible

This dial is about how we contribute back to and participate in the community. We recognize that we need to be an active voice in the issues of the day, have opinions, engage in discussions about them, and be a positive force in the community. We are especially focused on finding the delicate balance between expressing bold opinions and maintaining neutrality, ensuring we remain inclusive of a wide range of ideas.

We are credible

We model Agility.

We are open to, listen to, and frequently solicit feedback.
We take active positions to remain credible.

We boldly and actively engage with emerging ideas and “hot topics.”

We are growing responsibly

This value dial is mostly about internal matters, to make sure that we consider the health of Agile Alliance as we make plans and commitments. We have to remain financially viable, manage risks, and act with the highest of integrity in our dealings with others. If we don’t do these things, we’ll fail at most of the rest of the things we’ll do.

We are growing responsibly

We actively work to increase the impact of the organization.

We make decisions that are in the best interest of our members.

We consider strategic, operational, legal, and reputational risk in our decisions.

We act with integrity at all times.

A few concluding thoughts

Agile Alliance takes its position in the Agile community very seriously and wants to be seen as a positive and active influence on those seeking to learn about and apply Agile values, principles, and practices. These value dials help us make sure the decisions we make lead us to that goal.

If you have any questions about these value dials and how we apply them or have concerns about how we’ve approached any of them, let us know. Reach out to Board Chair Brian Button, our Managing Director Teresa Foster, or any Board member you may feel comfortable speaking with.

We intend to live up to the spirit of these value dials as we move forward. As mentioned before, there are some we’re already tracking well and some that are still aspirational. Feel free to hold our collective feet to the fire if you think we’re drifting. Agile Alliance is a member-based organization, and we’re here for you. Let us know how you feel!

This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They may not represent the opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.

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Brian Button

Brian Button is the Technical Director for Software, responsible for the Connected Buildings and Environmental Monitoring product lines for Emerson. It is his great pleasure to teach Agile, lean, and kanban concepts to his teams around the world, while delivering well engineered IoT and cloud solutions critical to the safety of food and medicine supplies globally. Prior to that, Brian began his career 30 years ago as a hardcore C/C++ dev on SunOS, building and…

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