This is not a manifesto

Recently, I had cause to ponder the values I hold as a member of a software development team. Values that, alongside other values I hold, drive my choices and behaviours. They sit behind the things I do and how I do them. They underly my thinking when considering how we can improve as a team and as an individual contributing to that team – for example, during retrospectives. This is not a manifesto of what I will value. This is an articulation of the things I do value.

In what I do and how I seek to improve as a team member, I have found that I value:

Throughput over Utilisation
Effectiveness over Efficiency
Advancement over Speed
Quality over Quantity

While there is value in the items on the right, I care about the items on the left more.

Note, that I say I ‘care’ about the items on the left more. I actually do care. I know that I care about these things more because it actually annoys me if I’m being asked to focus on the items on the right (probably because I know that they will be at the expense of the items on the left). I also know because I actually have a positive feeling when I am being asked for the items on the left (probably because I know that, over time, we’ll get the items on the right for free).

So, what do I mean by these ‘buzzwords’. Stick around and I’ll tell you in a series of upcoming blogposts. Some of these apply in ways that go beyond the obvious.


You probably noticed that I used the same format as the Agile Manifesto. This is because it happens to provide a structure that I believe most clearly and concisely communicates the idea.

I’d like to say a special thank you to Andy Palmer and Matt Roadnight for the awesome conversations that helped me find the right words to express these values and ideas.

  • Nice post. Maybe would have chosen “progress” as a label in preference to “advancement” (too easy to mistake for personal advancement aka selfish ambition?). And I’d say the Quality over Quantity balance is, at least in part, context-dependent.

    Looking forward to reading your definitions…- Bob

  • Thanks for the feedback Bob.

    I can’t promise definitions but I can promise an elaboration of the feelings that those words represent for me 🙂

    I like the idea of “progress”, although it doesn’t connect with me as well as “advancement”. I had considered it and chose advancement instead.Mostly I chose it because it connected with how I feel. I completely understand your concerns about the message it might send. I hadn’t considered the ‘selfish advancement’ issue… And I would hope that my team-mates wouldn’t be thinking that way. My experience on teams is a sense of fellowship where this sort of thing generally isn’t a concern. We advance as a team. I recognise that this isn’t always the case.

    Advancement, for me, is more than progress. It’s about making advances in progress and our ability to make progress.

    Thanks again for taking the time to give me feedback. The more I get, the deeper my understanding of these ideas gets.


  • I quite like that! Matches up well with my own drivers – although, as usual, you have expressed it much better than I could!

    Looking forward to the elaboration around Quality specifically.  I have been spending a lot of time recently (more than a year so far) trying to delve into what Quality is – what people mean when they use the word, specifically in terms of software but generally as well.


  • I’ll explain how I value quality relative to quantity. I’m not sure if that will involve a definition. Hopefully it will still add something useful to your thinking.