Agile Values – Feb. 26, 2008

Participants: Brett Dubroy, Thanou Thirakul, Lawrence Ludlow, Peter Yu, Jin Tao, Laurence Chiu, Michael Buckley, Romulo Velasquez, Doron Pearl, David Jones, Jessamyn Smith, Afua Osei, Barry O’Driscoll, Louis Richer, Chris Landry, Razvan Terenche, Caleb Powell, Michael Melvin, Ernest Lee, Stephen Ashley

The reading material to start our discussion was Chapter 7, Four Values, from Extreme Programming Explained. The four values that Kent Beck believes are key to any successful XP project are:

  • Communication
  • Simplicity
  • Feedback
  • Courage

The group defined values as things that are an underlying driver and are never compromised. Each person at the forum talked about what they personally experienced/thought were our shared key value(s).

  • Brett Dubroy: Delivery, courage (as a way to facilitate the other XP values).
  • Deth: Nurturing & communication (lots of implicit values wrapped up in striving for growth).
  • Lawrence Ludlow: Balance between delivery and four agile values. Most important value is communication, our environment promotes communication.
  • Peter Yu: Respect (mutual respect). Innovation (ability to creatively express oneself).
  • Jin Tao: Personal growth through intensive interactions at work.
  • Laurence Chiu: Courage is required to deliver feedback through simple messages.
  • Mike Buckley: Delivery (corporately, we’ve developed habits (i-proving process) that facilitate delivery, but will compromise other values to facilitate delivery).
  • Rom: Transparent communication. Sharing of knowledge and responsibility.
  • Doron Pearl: Satisfy the client requirements at any cost—may lead to difficulties in the project room.
  • David Jones: Feedback (still lacking sophistication). Courage.
  • Afua Osei: She has adapted agile values in her own life. Courage depends on the team environment. Missing feedback at the project level (the same issues are occurring over and over again).
  • Barry O’Driscoll: Has only been at Intelliware for four weeks, but can be good at his job because he is getting lots of constructive feedback—it’s okay to make a mistake.
  • Louis Richer: Courage (we are open an honest about our ideas and processes).Great feedback at a personal level, but need to improve feedback at an organizational level (client, risk mitigation)—how can we measure this?
  • Chris Landry: Other companies don’t share our values. This makes it more difficult to work in an agile environment. We need to reconcile this. Our process clashes with the best practices in the business.
  • Razvan Terenche: Great life/work balance—he enjoys his work, but has a rich life outside of work as well. Folks are building a community—no one focuses on their own advancement at the expense of others.
  • Caleb Powell: The feeling of empowerment separates Intelliware from other, bigger companies—this leads to greater job satisfaction. Everyone cares and is empowered to change things within the parameters of delivery.
  • Mike Melvin: There is lots of room for improvement in our agile process. There is not enough client contact within the room. We need to figure out how to better sell our process externally. Communication and feedback need to happen at all levels. Courage is our biggest value.
  • Ernest Lee: Everyone is committed to making Intelliware the best place. Folks are willing to share and work together as a team—there is no gaming, selfish motivations, not an oppressive environment, folks are not taking advantage of the privileges.

Group discussion:

  • We need to reconcile that the perceived customer value may be different from the values that we appreciate in our internal environment.
  • The environment facilitates a healthy tension which creates innovation—we adapt to survive.
  • We deliver value: we are building something of use and are empowered to make it better.
  • We care: Folks take responsibility for their own work (they feel bad if there is a mistake).
  • Experimentation part of our culture.

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