Positive Organizations and Agile Software Development

The world of software development is a wonderful domain that has emerged from the work of the conventional technical mind. Software development tends to be a hierarchical process and it has given us many innovations.
In one of our courses on positive leadership, there was an excited participant. He manages an IT unit in a large company. Several times he told us that he was really excited about what he was learning. He said the principles of positive organizing were helping him understand what is going on in his IT shop. He is a proponent of a non-conventional approach. He refers to it as agile development and scrum work.
Agile development is captured in the following manifesto:
Manifesto for Agile Software Development
We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it
Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more
Scrum is defined as follows:
Scrum (n): A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.
In sharing the above information, my friend notes that what he learned about positive organizations is totally consistent with his experience in agile development. He writes that “a high performing scrum team is a pretty good example of a positive organization.”
I think the key connection is that the relational network is any team or organization that is a complex adaptive system. It is a system that learns. When such a system is influenced by positive leadership, learning accelerates. Increasing collective intelligence leads to better adaptation and higher performance.

  • What do you learn from the manifesto?
  • What does the scrum definition suggest?
  • What is the quality of the collective intelligence in your unit?
  • How could you use this passage to create a more positive organization?

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