The Agile Association

24 Jan
Is your association responding quickly enough to the changing needs of its members? If not, then you are probably seeing a decline in membership as people seek elsewhere for answers that might have come from you. How can you get back on track?

The software industry has gone through similar crises. Software projects were often behind schedule, and over budget. But even worse, when the systems were deployed, in many cases after years of work, people discovered that they were impossible to use or did not provide the capabilities that had been anticipated.

In reaction to this, a small number of people struck out in a new direction propelled by the idea that the whole way that software was developed was wrong. These become the leaders of the Agile movement and it has blossomed into one of the most popular ways to manage a software development.

What does this have to do with associations? I think it has everything to do with associations. Early on, the leaders of the Agile movement developed a manifesto representing their core beliefs about software development. Here they are:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Notice that the word software only occurs once. And if you replace the word software with the word systems, you have a set of guidelines that can be broadly applied to any organization that provides products or services. This then, is the foundation of the agile association.

In the software industry, adoption of agile was slow at first. The principles outlined above were often in direct opposition to “the way things are done.” But my experience is that teams that adopt agile are both successful and happy. I anticipate that associations will likewise benefit.


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