Some of you probably know about the Agile Manifesto, which is sometimes referred as the ultimate source for agile principles and corresponding values. While it does provides valuable insights, I have here and there the feeling that it is not sufficient. Naturally every Manifesto is incomplete, if it’s as short as the classic Agile Manifesto and which deals explicitly with Software Development.
Therefore I thought it is time to share my personal heuristics, which guided me through the last 23 years of self-employment. And yes: Also these principles are incomplete. In the end these are my Mantra sentences that I said to myself.
1.The best idea wins. Never care about ranks and titles, but stay open for the best idea which helps you to solve „the problem“.
2. Don’t speculate – just ask. Nothing against a solid hypotheses, but if you have the chance to ask – then ask. That is the easiest way to understand „the problem“.
3. It’s better to apologize, than to ask (always) for permission. Sometimes one fails, sometimes one wins. You never know – but a bad decision is better than no decision = it’s about to take the initiative.
4. Be honest to yourself – be honest to your colleagues. Nothing is more counterproductive like a beautiful lie. Go through the pain of reflection. Ask for help and don’t try to be the „I know everything hero“.
5. Live and learn – which is closely related to #4 and still is somewhat different. It’s comparable with Boyd’s OODA-Loop or Deming’s PDCA.
6. In times of success: Stay super critical. In times of trouble: Stay super cool. Never believe the hype – listen only to your own thoughts – but only for a short while.
7. Feedback is everything – don’t trust open loops. In other words: Always close the loop. Open loops tend to escalate … not every time, but often enough.
8. A strong vision helps you to find the direction – a Strategic Roadmap helps you to imagine the necessary steps. But: Be like water – and fill the cracks in the stone while you move forward.
9. Be prepared when the shit hits the fan – have a least one alternative solution ready. Actually it’s better to have a plan C, D, …
10. Stay as independent as possible. Corruption is the worst Mindfuck you can do to yourself and your team. Stand by your values.
11. Be lazy. Look for the highest outcome with the lowest effort. And know your workmanship.
12. The Customer value is what the customer values – anything more to add?