Agile Sustainability Initiative

The planet is facing many challenges, including war, hunger, the climate crisis, and the decline of democratic rights. All these challenges (and many more) are addressed by the United Nations’ seventeen sustainable development goals. Why is this important for the Agile community?

  • The challenges are so existential, that they should be important for any community.
  • The challenges are wicked and the Agile community has learned over time how to address the complicated, complex, and wicked problems.
  • Agile comes with an expectation. For example, if a team states it is Agile, it is assumed that the team is also inclusive.

Main Activities

  1. Increase the awareness of the challenges and also of the Agile community’s possibilities to make a difference. We plan to do this through:
    1. Blog posts, posts on social media, posts in the Agile Alliance newsletter
    2. Reaching out to other Agile Alliance initiatives with ideas on how they can consider sustainability as a topic. Although this can become valuable for almost all initiatives, the following initiatives could be the first to reach out to:
  • Principle 12: Sustainability can become an element to be discussed in every retrospective
  • Supporting Agile Adoption: Connecting an Agile adoption with a sustainability strategy can leverage both
  • Agile Product Management: Sustainability can become an element being considered in every product creation
  • And as social sustainability is about e.g. about equity also connections with Growing Racial Equity, Agile Coaching Ethics, Emerging Economies, or Agile in Color would make sense
  1. Explore how we can increase sustainability both in and by agile:
    1. Sustainability by Agile is about using Agile practices & mindset to increase sustainability (address the challenges), e.g., offer scrum master skills to an NGO like Hack Your Future
    2. Sustainability in Agile is about using sustainability to guide our actions and outcomes in (Agile) development, e.g., having a definition of done that considers the carbon footprint of the new delivery.
  2. Collect examples of what people in the community are doing that can act as role models. These examples can be published as blog posts, experience reports, case studies at conferences, part of the newsletter, etc.
  3. Bring people together interested to work on that topic to increase attention. For example, for three years now a small group of researchers is running an Agile Sustainability workshop at the XP conference series. Despite the great work done there, not many people know about it. Bringing the researchers together with other people interested in the field can increase awareness and thus also the effectiveness.

The initiative will also provide guidance on how the Agile Alliance can leverage its influence on the Agile community. For example:

  • Agile 20XX
    • Offering sustainability as a theme e.g., in the shape of a track at Agile 20XX.
    • Make the carbon footprint of the conference transparent. Offer attendees to opt-in offsetting their share of the carbon footprint (this is the norm for booking a flight in Europe). Certainly, then also make transparent where the money goes.
  • Sponsorship and Corporate Members
    • Provide education to Sponsors and Corporate Members on how to act sustainably – ultimately, the intention would be for sponsors and corporate members to sign that they act sustainably (which includes ethically).