Your Agile Framework, Simplicity, and the Constitution

Our Agile Working Team recently gathered to continue making progress on changes we will be making to our Agile framework. These changes are being introduced as we are expanding our Agile implementation to our marketing and advertising groups along with a few other organizational changes.

As often happens, the conversation among the group began to turn towards complexities, unknowns, and what the future may hold. At some point, one of my colleagues said, “The Constitution is only one page and has lasted over 200 years!” Wise words, indeed. My response was, of course, “That’s going in my blog!”

Our tendency is to attempt to build the perfect solution with answers for every possible problem or situation we may encounter in the future. In our quest for perfection we overlook the power of simplicity.

In our quest for perfection we overlook the power of simplicity.

With the United States Constitution as an example, keep your Agile framework (or any process artifact) lean by:

Establishing values first. The constitution is based on the values of freedom, equality, and individual rights. These themes permeate the entire document. By creating and designing your Agile framework with values first, it will become very obvious and painful when you begin straying from them. The values for our framework are focused on healthy teams and people, being responsive, and delivering results.

Keeping things lightweight. You should be able to document your framework with just a few pages. At a high level, everything you need to know about our framework can be gleaned from a one page sketch. Build an elevator pitch for your framework. Can you explain it in 50 words or less?

Providing the basic structure and allowing some interpretation. The framework should stress the activities and work products required to live into your values but allow the practitioners the freedom to express their creativity. We do this through the use of framework guidance. A good example would be retrospectives. We believe retrospectives should be required (framework) to foster self-healing and team renewal but how the teams facilitate and accomplish this is left up to them (guidance).

Creating an approach for change. As you hand your framework off to those who will be practicing it, establish a way for change to be introduced. Similar to adding amendments to the constitution, your framework should evolve over time with new ideas and techniques emerging based on what is happening in practice. We have given our Communities of Practice this responsibility.

Thanks GP for the inspiration!

Reference: Si Alhir (

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