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Agile Principle 5

The fifth principle of the Agile Manifesto states, "Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the support and environment they need, and trust them to get the job done."

In other words... self-organization.

This principle represents a central point of agility and creates immense difficulties in almost all organizations. The need for self-organizing teams means moving beyond the ideas of "Command & Control" management. For many companies, this means a complete change in their way of working and managing people, which ultimately requires a cultural shift.

Giving employees self-organization (autonomy) and trust is in stark contrast to the management approaches established in the last century. Those came from industrial production and, ultimately, manufacturing. These approaches have become invalid as they frequently encounter mistrust followed by checks and control, leading to demotivation.

In knowledge work, facilitating rather than managing is the interpretation of this principle, which includes transparency and self-direction. This is not without consequences. Self-organizing teams need less external management leading to more freedom and taking on tasks previously accomplished by managers. Establishing such an environment, as this principle requires, can be a significant hurdle and could take time.

A benefit of this principle is that it encourages innovation and creativity. By giving team members the support and environment they need to be successful, agile teams can create a culture of experimentation and continuous improvement. This can lead to new ideas and approaches that ultimately benefit the customer and the project.

Of course, building projects around motivated individuals require a certain degree of trust and collaboration. Agile teams must communicate effectively and be willing to give each other the support and feedback they need to succeed.

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