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       Declaration of Interdependence

Agile and adaptive approaches for linking people, projects and value

We are a community of project leaders that are highly successful at delivering results. To achieve these results:

  • We increase return on investment by making continuous flow of value our focus.

  • We deliver reliable results by engaging customers in frequent interactions and shared ownership.

  • We expect uncertainty and manage for it through iterations, anticipation, and adaptation.

  • We unleash creativity and innovation by recognizing that individuals are the ultimate source of value, and creating an environment where they can make a difference.

  • We boost performance through group accountability for results and shared responsibility for team effectiveness.

  • We improve effectiveness and reliability through situationally specific strategies, processes and practices.

[2005 David Anderson, Sanjiv Augustine, Christopher Avery, Alistair Cockburn, Mike Cohn, Doug DeCarlo, Donna Fitzgerald, Jim Highsmith, Ole Jepsen, Lowell Lindstrom, Todd Little, Kent McDonald, Pollyanna Pixton, Preston Smith and Robert Wysocki.]

The title "Declaration of Interdependence" has multiple meanings. It means that project team members are part of an interdependent whole and not a group of unconnected individuals. It means that project teams, their customers, and their stakeholders are also interdependent. Project teams who do not recognize this interdependence will rarely be successful.

These values also form an interdependent set. While each is important independent of the others, the six form a system of values that provides a modern view of managing projects, particularly the complex, uncertain ones. The six statements -- value, uncertainty, customers, individuals, teams, and context (situationally specific) -- define an inseparable whole. For example: It's hard to deliver value without a customer who values something. It's hard to have viable teams without recognizing individual contributions. It's hard to manage uncertainty without applying situational specific strategies.

Each of the value statements have a distinct form -- why the item is important precedes the description of the value. So, "increasing return on investment" is why focusing on continuous flow of value is important. The value statements emphasize the importance of delivering reliable (not the same as repeatable) results, managing uncertainty, unleashing creativity and innovation, boosting performance, and improving effectiveness.

Each of the means statements conveys what this group thinks are the most important aspects of modern project management, and they also attempt to differentiate an agile-adaptive style of project management. For example, in the last value statement, the phrase "situationally specific strategies, processes, and practices," indicates that these items should not be overly standardized and static, but dynamic to fit the needs of projects and teams. Other styles of project management are more prone to standardization and prescriptive processes.

If you are interested in more information on this organization, please visit our web site or follow the discussion on

Jim Highsmith, 17 February 2005.