Agile Manifesto for Professional Learning & Development

Agile Manifesto for Professional Learning and Development (PLD)

Much has been written about the principles behind the Agile Manifesto for software development. You can read the original here. And quite a good summary here as well.

And you already know I’m a fan of the one-day executive education course you can do at Auckland University.

Here is my own personal version but adapted to adult education with a focus on professional learning and development (PLD). I’m not preaching to anyone but myself here. Some notes at the end.


  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  • Working professional learning and development services over comprehensive documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

As they say in the original:

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.


  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable professional learning and development products and services.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working professional learning and development products and services frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working professional learning and development products and services are the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.

Words in bold indicate where I’ve swapped out “software” for “professional learning and development products and services” or some variation of that.

In education, it’s sometimes complicated to see who the “customer” is. This often depends on how you define the word. A customer can be “someone who’s paying for a product or service. Or, “someone who is transformed by a product or service”.

All of the following can be a kind of customer:

  • Funding agencies.
  • Training providers including public, private, government and corporate.
  • Employers.
  • Tutors, teachers, trainers, kaiako.
  • Learners, tauira

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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