Just 3 Things

Scott Duncan
2 min readFeb 10


As I work on Implementing Agile Values and Principles, the follow-up book to Understanding Agile Values and Principles (UAVP) (https://www.infoq.com/minibooks/agile-values-principles/), besides offering material that will not end up being in the book, I want to post some brief ideas that will be included, and expanded upon, in the book. Here’s one such brief example.

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There are lots of potential Agile adoption approaches and numerous initial topics to focus upon. However, before any serious organizational process-related change, Agile or not, I think the organization should look at and assess how effectively the organization practices three things. They should then determine how these three things could be improved to make the adoption much more effective.

Effective communication involves successful conveying or sharing information, ideas, even feelings, so everyone involved understands what one another is trying to say. Historically, the word “communication” derives from the Latin word communicare which means ‘to share’ and that is certainly what we want to do effectively when we communicate.

Effective collaboration involves successful working with someone to produce or create something. Historically, the word “collaboration” derives from the Latin word collaborare which means ‘to work together’.

(Note: One could consider that cooperation with others would imply the same thing. In both cases the “co” prefix does mean together, but to “operate” together might simply occur if people pursue their individual work without impeding the work of others. To “labor” together, to me, suggests actually doing the work together, not just doing one’s own part of it effectively.)

Effective trust involves a belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of others without further evidence or investigation and having faith or confidence in them. Historically, the word “trust” derives from the Old Norse word traustr which means ‘strong’ and that’s exactly what we want trust between people to be.

(Note: It is said that trust is “earned in pennies but lost in dollars.” Another image is that losing trust is crumpling a piece of paper then trying to smooth it out again; you never get it as smooth again as it once was.)

Finally, it is important to think of these three collectively, it would be hard to do any one effectively if the other two were not also effective:

· It would be hard to communicate effectively with others if you could not effectively collaborate with and trust them.

· It would be hard to collaborate effectively with others if you could not effectively communicate with and trust them.

· It would be hard to trust others effectively if you could not effectively communicate and collaborate with them.

All of these thoughts are why I think an organization, even if they were not planning any change, would find it worthwhile to examine how well they do these three things. It might lead them to feel they should pursue changes to raise their effectiveness in doing them.