The six principles of an agile enterprise are adapted from the twelve Agile Manifesto principles and simplified for use. In Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he noted that principles mostly relate to human behaviour and govern interactions between people. These principles are intended to do just that and inform the work needed to help your organization transform.

1. Prioritize delivery of customer value

  • Measure success by setting and achieving goals focused on delivering customer value – something your customers can demonstrate realizing with what you deliver
  • Verify and validate what constitutes value with real customers
  • Prioritize this principle over anything that could impede your ability to do so

2. Seek progress over perfection

  • Deliver as early and as often as possible
  • Perfection comes from putting it out there with real customers, learning from their feedback, and pivoting if required – or stopping if it’s good enough

3. Create alignment and accountability

  • Make goals, risks and how work gets done highly visible, including who is responsible and how they’re progressing on them
  • Break work down into smaller increments that enable individuals and teams to demonstrate progress towards realizing larger goals or reducing risk

4. Simplify the work

  • Once visualized, identify areas for improvement for how work gets done
  • Leverage hypothesis-based experiments on identified areas to make improvements

5. Trust people and teams to do their job

  • Distribute decision making to people closest to the problem
  • Trust people and teams to do the work right and encourage them to adjust if data identifies opportunity

6. Treat everything as a learning opportunity

  • Regularly reflect as a team on how work gets done, decisions get made, and how people interact
  • Promote learning, not in the traditional sense, but in everything people do

Organizations that demonstrate living these principles are agile enterprises. So, the path to becoming an agile enterprise is by learning how to live these principles. That is the hard work of transforming your organization.