The final #Agile frontier – Politics

After reading up on Joe Justice’s great Wikispeed story on how you can apply Agile principles to manufacturing a car, I started to think about other areas that we can apply Agile principles to. In both the United States and Canada, it appears that people are becoming more and more disenchanted with the political system and the process. The political system seems to be more adversarial and dysfunctional that it has been in the past. This is neither the fault of either the left-wing or the right-wing of the political spectrum, it just seems that political parties have lost their way.

  • On the right, it seems that the focus is on promotion of good fiscal management and the creation of wealth sometimes at the expense of Health Care, Education, Labour unions, and Social programs  for the majority of the citizens and taxpayers. People frequently quote this perspective as profits over people. I believe that is incorrect, it is growth over subsidy. Instead of subsidizing Health Care, Education, Labour Unions, and Social programs, the wealth is being redirected to augment growth and wealth creation.
  • On the left, it seems that the focus is on the promotion of Health Care, Education, Labour unions, and Social programs  at the expense of good fiscal management and the creation of wealth. (Please see Greece for a worst case example) People again quote this as people over profits. Again I believe this is incorrect, it is subsidy over growth. Instead of growth, the wealth is being redirected to subsidize Health Care, Education, Labour Unions, and Social programs.

The problem is that neither of these positions are sustainable and both ignore doing what is best for the citizen and taxpayer. Growth and wealth creation can’t succeed without supported citizens to drive that growth, subsidized Health Care, Education, Labour Unions, and Social programs can’t exist without good fiscal management and wealth creation to pay for them.

The political system’s primary focus seems to be the continuation of the political system. Most importantly, I’m not sure either position does what is best for the country.

  • Could Agile politics place the focus back on value for the citizens and taxpayers?
  • Could Agile politics deliver value more frequently?
  • Could Agile politics provide brutal visibility on what is being done politically?

Just a thought but maybe Agile is the answer to changing the focus from special interest groups to all the citizens. Can we start to work in iterations delivering value on the highest priority items?

Maybe we could start with a Kanban board?


Author: Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio is passionate about his work as the Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba. Terry oversees the governance on Information Technology projects to make sure the most important projects are being worked on in a consistent and effective way. Terry also provides leadership on the customized Project Methodology that is followed. The Project Methodology is a equal mix of Prince2, Agile, Traditional, and Business Value. Terry strives to bring Brutal Visibility, Eliminating Information islands, Right Sizing Documentation, Promoting Collaboration and Role-Based Non-Consensus, and short Feedback Loops to Minimize Inventory to the Agile Project Management Office. As a fan of pragmatic Agile, Terry always tries to determine if we can deliver value as soon as possible through iterations. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Traditional and Agile approaches. Terry is a fan of AWE (Agile With Estimates), the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, and asking why?

One thought on “The final #Agile frontier – Politics”

  1. I agree that an agile, transparent, democratic political process is what we need now more than ever. That’s why I’ve recently been attracted to organizations like LeadNow, that are actively getting Canadians involved on a grassroots level, by encouraging people to call and write their MPs, share information, and get together locally to discuss the issues. Their aim is to encourage more government transparency, more democratic involvement in the political process, and more diverse electoral representation:

    I also thought that the Occupy movement was an interesting experiment in Agile politics and self-organization, but from what I could tell from the sidelines, it needs more order and unity of purpose to be effective. Perhaps after a few more iterations, something more substantial will come out of it.


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