In a recent interview with IT Knowledge Exchange about why I wrote A to XP: The Agile ABC Book, I spoke of seeing a need for an entry point to Agile Literacy. I also spoke about being of service to the Agile community by offering a job aid. That’s all true, but there is more than that.
It may be that I am simply a child of my times, but I see a greater purpose in promoting A to XP. I’m looking to change the world. I want to foster sustainability and I want to improve the quality of human lives. Please don’t call the men in the white coats. I don’t think I have all the answers. I have no illusions of grandeur. But I do think that the underlying Agile philosophy and constructivist practices have application beyond the Lean, Scrum and XP teams. I also believe that by acknowledging this purpose, I assume a responsibility to act – it motivates me.
My central belief: I believe that by learning and living Agile at work we make small changes in how people feel about themselves. I believe its impact on their behavior, not just at work but at home and in the community, can cause a mind shift that in this 21st century can fuel global changes consistent with the values of sustainability and responsibility.
In some ways, Agile education is providing a taste of the “classical education of gentlemen” that our Founding Fathers promoted as a liberal arts education. The goal of classical education was to create a shared wisdom, aimed at truth for its own sake and the cultivation of what they called “personal and public virtue.” This shared vision of truth guided both the American Revolution and the French Revolution.
In the 21st century, I see the Agile as an opportunity to effect a paradigm shift towards Sustainability and Responsibility. To improve our ethical literacy and our societal expectations – the personal and public virtue of our times. The conversations in IT might be around “why” is this a better way of accomplishing our specific goal, but the broadened view of the importance of collaboration, and a perspective about long term impact and how it aligns with values of respect and sustainability, are going to start people framing conversations differently in and out of work. The Revolution in the 21st century needs to begin in corporate environments where the means and the ends become value driven.
A to XP: The Agile ABC Book is just one manifestation of a greater transformational movement. Leaders in the field include Daniel Pink who writes about the changing world of work; Peter Senege, author and founder of the Society of Organizational Learning; and Steve Denning, author, leadership guru and member of the StoosNetwork. Won’t you join us?
Download the PDF of Interview here.