After many years, I have finally found a set of values that effectively and pithily encapsulate my way of working in technology-heavy environments.

In a previous post (still far and away the most popular on the site), I gave my opinion on how the Agile Manifesto should be read. In it, I very much relegated the most quoted part — the four X over Y comparisons — to the level of status report, to be read as thus far, here’s what seems to help, rather than a true statement of values.

Certainly I think that those comparisons are a good, pragmatic set of heuristics, and are excellent to guide behaviour in the face of uncertainty. Too many people though seem to use them dogmatically, and fail to see the line following, that clarifies that it’s a balance, and the lesser valued end of the comparisons are also useful. Result: much disposal of babies along with bathwater.

And perhaps a major factor in my scepticism is that it really is a highly context sensitive status report. And I’m looking for a higher set of values that are more perennial, and speak to a systems level perspective. That really summarises what I’m about as a delivery leader, and where I seek to turn the volume up for customers as a consultant and coach.

Over the years, I’ve seen a few other[/su_tooltip] value statements that are really good and I’ve learned a lot from, but none of them are comprehensive, or pithy, enough. And they all have the off-putting dogmatism thing.

I think I may have found what I’m looking for.

In the midst of an excellent post that talks about the journey of Lean thinking that a CIO needs to go through, Finnish CIO Sami Torkkola wrote this gold nugget:

Flow efficiency over Resource efficiency
Learning over execution[1]
Facts over opinions
System level reasons over blaming individuals
Customer value over organization-chart hierarchy.

Source: Sari Torkkola: The first steps a CIO needs to take to embrace lean management principles

No, I’m not going to call this a Manifesto (not least because I’m bored with the political rhetoric and ensuing dogmatism). But it is a set of values that resonates extremely strongly with I don’t see changing in the way I work.

Now there’s a hostage to fortune.

Anyone else thinking the same? May I direct you to the comments section below?


  1. This pair is a little different from the others. In all the others (and in contrast to the most common construction of value pairs), you are forced to choose, as they are different ends of a spectrum. Here, you ultimately need execution to deliver value, but you achieve more value in the long term by approaching it indirectly.
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