Bombs and Agile

The coach’s gathering last weekend also got me thinking about the ethics of Agile Work and coaching. Is it okay to use agile methods for destructive purposes?


Let’s first look at the Agile Software Manifesto for guidance. We see four statements of values and a number of principles. None of them provide an ethical framework that helps us determine where to use agile methods. In fact, there are many types of work that we could ask an equivalent set of questions about:

Is it okay to use agile methods to assist research in bio-weapons?

Is it okay to use agile methods to build software systems for nuclear missiles?

Is it okay to use agile methods to run a hate campaign?

Is it okay to use agile methods to … ?

The agile community lacks a statement of ethics equivalent to the Hippocratic Oath. Do we even need one? As coaches, should our Middle Way to Excellence be grounded in a strong moral sense or is the middle way adrift?

I feel like we need a moral grounding. I think that the basis of it should be the recognition of the Unity of Humanity. I believe that both justice and mercy are important. Trust and Truthfulness are part of the foundation as well.

Is there any way to state a professional creed for Agile coaches that we can all agree upon? Has anyone tried?

For what it’s worth, the ICF has a code of ethics that might be a starting point.

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About Mishkin Berteig

Mishkin Berteig is a Baha'i, a father of four, a husband and an experienced Agile consultant and trainer. Mishkin is a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) with the Scrum Alliance, a certified Master of OpenAgile wight he OpenAgile Centre for Learning and a certified SAFe Program Consultant (SPC) with the Scaled Agile Academy. Mishkin has a technical background including a B.Sc. in Computer Science and worked as a Chief Architect reporting to the CIO of Charles Schwab, but gave it up to be more Agile.

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