Leveraging the “B-side” of the Agile Manifesto

The Agile Manifesto presents a shift in where we focus our energy. In the Agile culture, there is a danger of focusing so heavily on the “items on the left” that we lose the value of the “items on the right”. The reality is that the Agile Manifesto deliberately focus our energies on the left side because of the mis-application of the right side items. The Manifesto’s summary statement acknowledges that the items on the right are still valued, so for this talk we’ll discuss the right context that will enable the items on the right to play the proper role where their value can be realized. This is especially critical for larger organizations that must accommodate some level of operational execution without stifling innovation.

Many times the Agile “purists” may believe you should only work for companies that understand and operate in an Agile manner. Some are extreme enough to believe all other companies are doomed and destined for bankruptcy. From my experiences when working in a large company, I believe traditional enterprises will be transformed, albeit more slowly over time. Instead of railing against the “B-side” as inherently bad, we ALL must understand how to realistic leverage these things without being consumed as the key to a rational transformation.

In this interactive presentation, we’ll walk through each of the B-side manifesto items and discuss real-world examples in application and the essential context that must be maintained in order to remain true to the Agile Mindset.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

Below is an outline plan for the walkthrough. There will be a few excerpts from videos shared to provide complementary insight and humor in the presentation, but I’ll have a local copy to prevent any risk of Wifi streaming issues. 

• Process & Tools in our new Agile era of Individuals & Interactions
Try to run your agile organization without any process or tools and you get chaotic agile. While development is never all about the process or tools, we must avoid clinging to process & tools as an excuse to avoid the real thinking and engagement required through individuals and interactions. You can’t cookie cutter the model for your organization, but we’ll discuss the more popular options out there and discuss the proper considerations for the B-side role to be played. 

• Comprehensive Documentation in our new Agile era of Working Software
Technical Writers as Dinosaurs? Not so fast. Like a railroad engineer who sees that the mechanism of transporting people is evolving, there is still a need for this role in many emerging agile organizations. The advent of distributed, collaborative, and social documentation mechanisms actually can suffice for documentation. 

• Contract Negotiation in our new Agile era of Customer Collaboration
Until customers know what they want before seeing the final product, some level of contract negotiation must always apply in software development. A country’s legal system may drive the current world of contracts, but there are new lightweight agile contract templates that have proven highly effective for agile engagements which enable real business partnerships rather than classic customer/vendor dysfunctional dynamics. Some walkthrough examples will be shared for the audience to understand the ideal context for contract negotiation. Tips provided for setting up the customer collaboration model will be essential for agile contracts.

• Following a Plan in our new Agile era of Responding to Change
Responding to change doesn’t excuse us from planning. But planning has changed significantly in the agile world. Roadmaps and Release Plans still have a place, but what about folks in the organization still trying to see the detailed Gantt charts? We’ll discuss how to best incorporate the value of a plan, while still ensure that your organization is optimally established for responding to change. Those approaches for doing so will leave the audience with a thoughtful set of concepts to bring back to their organization. The line on plan following against needs for change is delicate, but manageable with the outline strategies that will be discussed.

Learning Outcome

  • Attendees should gain context around the challenges in applying the value principles of the Agile Manifesto looking from the back side.


  • Strategies that are shared will not only help set the right mindset for applying the B-side values, it will give attendees the chance to see the application of the B-side values in industry and understand the emerging capabilities in how they relate to the A-side values.

PLEASE NOTE:  The link to the slides below are the only public presentation slides that I have been able to post with Equifax legal and marketing approval.  I also had to "gut" several sections and images from the posted slides, although typically receive approval to show much more content - it just can't be posted or distributed.

Target Audience

Individuals who finding real-world pressures toward the “B-side” items of the Agile Manifesto & want to learn/discuss some balancing approaches.

schedule Submitted 4 years ago

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