Key Principles – Citations and References

AgileSweet is based on the knowledge and work of others, mixed in with my own studies and experiences.

It is inspired by Jocko Willink’s books ‘Discipline = Freedom’ and, with Leif Babbin, ‘Extreme Ownership’.
Agile exist because uncertainty is all pervasive. Uncertainty must be accepted, understood, and embraced to maximize value.

The core premise of this field manual is that, for rapidly evolving and complex situations,  the best sources of wisdom are economics and war, as they  focus on optimal risk-return decision making, and winning leadership.

Not much, if any, of this is original to me, this is simply my distilling of what I have found to be most effective and the thinking behind it. Again, feedback is most welcomed.

AgileSweet attempts to distill and enhance the valuable learnings from XP, Scrum, DSDM, Lean, optimisation logic from classical economics and risk management, military SOPs, Extreme Ownship leadership principles, cultural theory, and complexity.

The goal is to be continuously improving the delivery of value in world of complexity, change, and uncertainty.

The key principle is that results come from creativity and productivity, and that leadership and communication are the two biggest factors in determining success.

Below are some cross references, credits and citations for the key principles.

Errors and omissions are entirely my own, please point them out.

References and Reading

Agile Manifesto and Agile Principles at

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Netflix Reference Guide on our Freedom & Responsibility Culture

RESULTS. Achieve objectives. Add value.

1. Objectives – clear intent, meaningful purpose, constrained optimization framework.

AMP  #1 (Agile Manifesto Principle) ‘Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.’

AMP #7 ‘Working software is the primary measure of progress.’

2. Creativity – from everyone, from communication. Always think innovation, apply to strategy, quality, productivity.

AMP #2 ‘Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.’

AMP #10 ‘Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.’

3. Productivity – from objective focus, from communication. Make it visible, ensure quality, minimize waste.

AMP #6 ‘The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.’

AMP #8 ‘Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.’

LEADERSHIP. Lead people. Deliver results.

1. Ownership – own the objectives, own the problems, own the solutions. Credit others.

2. Relationships – lead in all directions, listen, flank, provide purpose, autonomy and mastery.

AMP #4 ‘Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.’

AMP #5 ‘Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.’

AMP #11 ‘The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.’

3. Standards – are not what is stated but what is demonstrably accepted.

AMP #9 ‘Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.’

EXECUTION. Here. Now. Embrace uncertainty.

1. Action - Prioritize and execute now, be effective not ineffective.

AMP #3 ‘Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.’

2. Detach – Assess, re-evaluate effectiveness, re-prioritise and adapt.

AMP #12 ‘At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.’

3. "DISCIPLINE = FREEDOM" (Mantra from Extreme Ownership)


Acknowledgements and Sources

Agile Manifesto and Agile Principles at

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin