A Case for Enhancing the Agile Triangle

Posted on 1/17/2012 by Rajeev Singh

The Iron Triangle (Project Management Triangle) is an antithesis of Agile mindset. Jim Highsmith recognized it and proposed the Agile Triangle. It seems that the value vertex, releasable product, is still narrow in its focus. It is talking just about product/service value. It is restrictive to only customers and shareholders. How about Employee/Team Value? Or, even intermediary value focused on enhancing the core environment and sharpening the saws. For better software, we ought to think of empowerment, leadership and mentorship.

I want to make a slight modification to Jim’s triangle and add Intermediary/Internal value to the Value vertex. We just can’t ignore that anymore. That’s how continuous improvement happens. That’s when you take time out and act on retrospective tasks. That’s when functional product ownership balances itself out with technical product ownership.

An Agile approach to product delivery encompasses enabling the people and infrastructure. We just can't think at the project level anymore. We ought to start focusing on the whole organization. It is untenable to continue delivering external value without investing in internal value. The risk of not doing so is to put continuous improvement on the back burner.

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