a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning


In the summer and fall of 2022 a group of people came together to discuss the agile manifesto. The goal was to investigate whether it is still relevant today, more than 20 years after its conception.

In our view, the agile manifesto focusses exclusively on software development which is  far too restricted considering how complicated it is to work together on complex products in an organisation.

Agility can only emerge when the organisation in its entirety, in the broadest sense acts as an enabler for product development, by adressing chain collaboration and management, among other things. Also, too little attention is paid to behaviour and mindset while these are the most important.

From this discussion, the Manifesto for adaptive Organizations emerged - we are interested in your opinion and invite you to join the discussion in our Linked In group!

What do you think?
Is it complete?
We are curious to hear your opinion. Let us know!

The rationale behind each principle: a short motivation of the principle, the “why”.

The implication of the principle: what are the consequences of this principle.




People are the critical success factor for an adaptive organisation.

Rationale: Without people, no adaptove organisation. We have moved away from the concept that man is a cog in a machine that can be repaired, replaced or moved.

In an adaptive organisation, people bring knowledge and skills to the table, agreements are made about accountability and responsibilities, and cooperation in and between teams as complex systems is optimized.

By facilitating for these people, one facilitates for success. People are encouraged to speak their minds, they florish, show vulnerablity, feel valued for their contribution, are being heard, show more initiative, are increasingly innovative, unleash their creativity and are happier.

Implication: Happy employees who feel safe in their working environment centralised around cooperation, development and the intention to make each other better. This is achieved by focusing on psychological safety and structural reflection and by designing and building a learning organisation.

This requires purposeful leadership that sets goals and bounds and feels accountable for creating and nurturing an organizational culture centralised around Trust, Safety and Accountablility. 

The organisation delivers sustainable value to customers, employees and its ecosystem.

Rationale: Customer focus and creating customer value are a must. As supply is often greater than demand organisations will have to keep developing in delivering value for their customers. Continuously ask yourself: what do our customers need?

Sustainable value is seen as long-term value, non-exhaustive for its ecosystem or 'the other'. Sustainability is also equality. With respect for everyone's motivation in the relationship.The outcome of value is meaningful and viable.

Implication: Culture is characterized by trust, happiness, transparency, easier and faster decision making, and long-term relationships. Both customer and employee satisfaction are high.

Leadership has an important task in crafting organizations in such a way that sustainable value creation is made possible. This implies that old patterns, structures and processes must be abandoned, and new ways of management and organisation must be embraced.

The intention of the organisation connects all layers within the system

Rationale: The organisation's identity lies in its intention: who do we want to be as an organisation in order to achieve our vision (intended objective) and mission (how we want to achieve our vision). The intention inspires and gives direction so that customers and employees can identify with it.

The intention connects all layers of the organisation and contributes to a safe environment giving customers and employees direction, helping them make decisions and challenging them to continuously improve.

Implication: Every team or department defines their intention. It is important that the intention of the team or department does not conflict with the organisation´s intention, and the intentions of all the teams together add up to the intention of the organisation.

Everyone in the organisation fully understands and embraces its mission.

Rationale: As everyone in the organisation lives its mission and as all our decisions serve the mission, decisions can be taken at the lowest possible level in the organisation. Decision frameworks are clear to everyone.

Living, understanding and embracing the mission is essential to the organization's decisiveness and adaptability. 

Implication: It is important that every meeting starts with our mission. Continuously challenge the goals of the teams, one's own behaviour and that of others to the organisation's mission. Ensure that conflicting goals are not an option.

The core behaviour of collaboration is driven by Trust, Freedom, and Responsibility.

Rationale: By granting each individual and each team the freedom to truly take responsibility, they will not abuse the trust placed in them and are more likely to make the best decisions.

Implication: Set the right framework for individuals and teams to establish the boundaries of responsibility and make agreements on those boundaries.

By giving each individual and team the trust and freedom to exercise this responsibility according to their own judgment, they determine how they work towards the right goals and monitor their progress.

Outdated control mechanisms need to be discontinued in order to allow the agile system to function optimally.

The entire leadership accepts the consequences of the chosen ideology and is responsible for creating the necessary ecosystem to support it.

Rationale: In order to fully leverage the success of an agile approach, it is important for it to be embraced throughout the entire organization, without exceptions.

Implication: Leadership at all levels should have a solid understanding of agile methodologies. They set the example through their attitudes and behaviours, with Trust, Freedom, and Responsibility being crucial. Leadership accepts all the consequences of the chosen approach.

Leadership is purposeful, provides guidance, and is everyone's responsibility. It is situational, inclusive, unifying, and supportive.

Rationale: To cope with ever-increasing complexity and constant changes, it is important to empower teams with responsibility - within clear boundaries.

Additionally, diversity and inclusivity are crucial as they promote well-being, leading to improved productivity and performance among employees. They also have a positive impact on innovation and foster greater employee loyalty.

Implication: It is not about top-down leadership but rather bottom-up leadership, where responsibility is anchored at the lowest possible level in the organisation.

This requires courage and initiative from teams to take ownership of that responsibility. Leadership provides clear boundaries and is serving, supportive, and provides direction (goal-oriented).

The functioning of a system depends on the interactions between its components, not on the individual parts in isolation

Rationale: By optimizing with focus on the whole, it becomes easier to achieve your goals.

Implication: When implementing changes, it is important to always consider the impact on the entire system. Since we often cannot fully oversee the entire system, it is important to conduct experiments, learn from them, and make adjustments accordingly.

In our system, we value transparency, which allows our system to thrive through short feedback loops.

Rationale: A thriving system has a (predominantly) positive impact on all aspects such as organization, financial stability, people, product & service, customers, society, and the ecosystem.

Transparency across this entire system makes it easier to support an effective decision-making process without judgment. Without transparency, inspect & adapt becomes impossible.

Implication: When making decisions, we consider all aspects. The system thrives because we have the courage to transform patterns into opportunities for everyone.

We share the information necessary for the proper functioning of the system with each other, even when it is difficult to do so. Leadership and teams present their progress and challenges in full transparency and on a short-cycle basis.

Regular application of inspect & adapt within the organization provides a structured way to identify, implement, and evaluate improvements.

Employees and teams have the freedom to experiment with the goal of sharing, learning, and taking action.

Rationale: By experimenting and learning collaboratively, and basing improvements on empirical evidence, objective choices are made. This ongoing process allows for continuous improvement and identification of what does not work.

Ultimately, this approach maximizes the value derived from limited resources.

Implication: Teams are given time and space to experiment, evaluate, and continuously measure the impact of their experiments. This allows them to objectively determine whether the desired effect (value delivery) has been achieved.

Experiences from the (recent) past are also used to make necessary adjustments, if needed. To effectively leverage empiricism, trust, vulnerability, and courage are crucial. The data is used for shared learning and certainly not for punishment.

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