Manifesto for Agile Development of Democracy : Recipes

Mathew Lowry asks me some interesting questions about the Manifesto for Agile Development of Democracy (#MDAD). Thanks for that ! Here are my answers : 
“ It leaves me perplexed for two reasons.

To begin with, you claim it values “Individuals and their discussions … democracy and citizenship … Collaboration with the citizens” and so on more than anything else. But was it actually created through a democratic, collaborative process with citizens, or just dreamt up by you in your bedroom?”
Firstly : the origin of the idea comes from my own experience as citizen activism with NewropMag team, my experience about how to introduce agile practices into complex organizations, and previous work. And I give in the first sentence the link for detailed explanations (in French : you have to use Google translate, sorry) why this MDAD proposition is not Utopia, nor even Realistic Utopia : De l’utopie réaliste à l’anticipation politique. BTW, you seem to be sarcastic when you use the verb “dream”, don’t you ? 

Secondly : the Manifest is not in its final version ! You should have noticed the “v20111210” version number and the CC licence. This manifesto is intended to be improved using the same principles described in the manifesto : “eat your own dog food” recipe is very efficient for improvement. So if you like to contribute (or even fork), please do !
Secondly, I use Agile development at work to build opensource websites, and I don’t really see the link between it and your Manifesto. You use some agile language when you talk about optimizing for democracy (“policies with high added value for democracy … Agile political processes harness change for the citizen’s advantage … Define evolution of a real democracy with a frequency of several weeks”). 
Why would you think building software is fundamentally different than building anything else ? I had the luck in my life to work in very different domains and to study even more ones, and by essence they are all the same : what is important is not what you are building, but the team who is building. The relations between the people. The stronger you can make them, the better the result will be. 

Looks to the Agile Manifesto for Software Development. What did they say ? Exactly that. And they have defined principles to optimize these relations. 

Now looks to public policies. It is another name for “defining rules to better live together”. Doesn’t it look similar to defining the correct software requirements ? So why some Agile principles would not be a relevant answer to optimize the way they are defined ? I’m quite sure they are. 

However, you don’t propose any indicators, nor measurement methods, nor arbitrators. Who is the client? Who is the project manager? 
I could have proposed some of them, it’s pretty easy when you have accepted in your mind the underlying logic. But firstly I think the process to define MUST be fully collaborative, and secondly it is a goal for the second part of the story. The first part if to have this Manifesto improved, translated then signed by as many people as possible, who will agree to sign a few sentences they can quickly understand and approved (nothing is hidden in the middle of hundreds or thousands of pages). 

And most important, this MDAD Manifesto does not deal with a single one set of democratic processes : like with software development, many different Agile methods can be defined and used : all are different by some aspects, but all are Agile if they respect the Agile Manifesto principles. None are systematically better than any other. It is the same for democratic processes. Do not start by thinking a single one democratic process "one size fits all" is the obvious way. It is not. That's why we need to define upfront common principles at a upper conceptual layer. Theses principles can then be realized (implemented) differently within different contexts, allowing more efficiency, and more opportunities for people to adopt the principles. It worked like this for Agile Manifesto and changed the way almost all new software is done on earth. KISS recipe at work.

Do you think your remark is relevant when you decided to sign the Agile Manifesto for Software Development (you said you are using Agile methodology in your development work) ? Of course not. 

But if you want to proceed even further, here is the mapping I created between software development roles and roles in an Agile Democracy, and between activities :

Real Democracy
individuals (speaking of team member)
Cascade or « V style » development process
Current membership of parliament
Current institutions
Public policies
Working software
(set of public policies defined using) real democratic processes
Rights, rules
to deal a contract before realizing the project
To negotiate an electoral mandate based on the promises of a defined political agenda.
change management
Policies adaptation and political anticipation
Follow a plan
Follow a defined political agenda (or your own)
Deliver software
Define public policies
business people
An elected person
Business sponsor
Sponsor (Current institutions, NGO, think tank…)
Product Owner
An elected person
Product Owner Proxy
Technocrat, civil servant (non elected person)
Scrum Master
A member of the team who helps others to follow the chosen Agile Democracy methodology
Members of citizen think tank or workgroup
development team
citizen think tank or workgroup, members of civil society
End user
Definition of public policies or strategic recommendations
Agile coach
Coach in Agile Democracy
External parties

"Your manifesto’d be hijacked by undemocratic interests in months, if not weeks."
To my mind, undemocratic interests are only moving in reactive mode. They simply ignore what they cannot see. They will be interested in MDAD only when it will be a success, means too late. And before that day, what hijack can they do with just an idea and a text under CC licence ?

Mathew, I hope you can participate and improve this MDAD initiative. Just by asking more questions if you wish.


Manifesto para o Desenvolvimento Ágil da Democracia

"Estamos descobrindo maneiras melhores de melhorar ou expandir a prática da democracia e da cidadania por fazê-lo e ajudar os outros fazê-lo.

Através deste trabalho e engajamento dos cidadãos que têm vindo a valorizar:
  • Indivíduos e suas discussões mais do que a representação tradicional e as instituições eleitorais. 
  • Verdadeira democracia e cidadania mais do que a legislação exaustiva e regulamentos. 
  • Colaboração com a mais cidadãos do que a negociação de um mandato eleitoral com base em promessas de uma agenda política. 
  • A antecipação de adaptação e políticos mais do que seguir uma agenda política. 
Em outras palavras, embora haja valor na parte posterior de cada frase, nós apreciamos mais o primeiro."

Leia Por que este manifesto? e Princípios por trás do Manifesto para o Desenvolvimento Ágil da Democracia

Manifesto per lo Sviluppo Agile della Democrazia

"Siamo costantemente alla scoperta di come migliorare o espandere attraverso la pratica della democrazia de cittadini e aiutarando gli altri in questa pratica.

Questo impegno civico ci ha portato ad apprezzare questi valori:
  • Gli individui e le loro discussioni più che le rappresentazioni elettorali tradizionali e le istituzioni. 
  • L'esercizio della cittadinanza e di una democrazia reale più che delle leggi e regolamenti più complete. 
  • La collaborazione con i cittadini più che la negoziazione di un mandato elettorale basata sulla base di promesse di un programma politico. 
  • L'adattamento e l’anticipazione politica più che il seguire un programma politico. 
In altre parole, anche se c'è un valore nella seconda frase di ogni proposta, noi apprezziamo di più la prima. "

Leggere: "Perché questo manifesto? e Principi Fondatori del Manifesto per lo Sviluppo Agile della Democrazia"

Manifest für Agile Entwicklung der Demokratie

"Wir entdecken bessere Wege zur Verbesserung oder Erweiterung der Praxis der Demokratie und Staatsbürgerschaft, indem Sie es und anderen dabei helfen.

Durch diese Arbeit und bürgerschaftliches Engagement haben wir den Wert zu kommen:
  • Individuen und ihre Diskussionen über die traditionelle Volksvertretung und Institutionen. 
  • Echte Demokratie und Staatsbürgerschaft mehr als abschließende Gesetzgebung und Vorschriften. 
  • Die Zusammenarbeit mit den Bürgern über die Aushandlung eines Mandats, das Versprechen einer politischen Agenda. 
  • Die Anpassung und der politischen Erwartung mehr als nach einer politischen Agenda. 
In anderen Worten, obwohl es sinnvoll ist, im späteren Teil eines jeden Satzes, wir schätzen mehr die früheren."

Lesen Sie : "Warum dieses Manifest? und Prinzipien, die hinter dem Manifest für Agile Entwicklung der Demokratie"

Manifiesto por el Desarrollo ágil de la Democracia

"Estamos descubriendo mejores maneras de mejorar o ampliar la práctica de la democracia y la ciudadanía por hacerlo y ayudar a otros a hacerlo.

A través de este compromiso de trabajo y de los ciudadanos que han llegado a valorar:
  • Las personas y sus conversaciones más que la representación tradicional e instituciones electorales. 
  • La verdadera democracia y la ciudadanía más allá de la legislación y las regulaciones exhaustivas. 
  • Colaboración con el mayor número de ciudadanos de la negociación de un mandato electoral basada en las promesas de una agenda política. 
  • La anticipación política y adaptación más que seguir una agenda política. 
En otras palabras, aunque hay un valor en la parte posterior de cada oración, apreciamos más la primera. "

Lea ¿Por qué este manifiesto? y Principios detrás del Manifiesto por el desarrollo ágil de la Democracia

Manifesto for Agile Development of Democracy

"We are uncovering better ways of improving or expanding the practice of democracy and citizenship by doing it and helping others do it.

Through this work and citizen engagement we have come to value :
  • Individuals and their discussions more than the traditional electoral representation and institutions. 
  • Real democracy and citizenship more than exhaustive legislation and regulations. 
  • Collaboration with the citizens more than the negotiation of an electoral mandate based on the promises of a political agenda. 
  • The adaptation and political anticipation more than following a political agenda. 
In other words, although there is value in the later part of each sentence, we appreciate more the former. "

Read "Why this Manifesto for Agile Development of Democracy and the 12 Principles behind it."

Manifeste pour le Développement Agile de la Démocratie

"Nous découvrons constamment comment améliorer ou développer la démocratie par la pratique citoyenne et en aidant les autres dans cette pratique.

Cet engagement citoyen nous a amené à apprécier ces valeurs :
  • Les individus et leurs débats davantage que les representations électorales traditionnelles et les institutions. 
  • L'exercice de la citoyenneté et une démocratie réelle davantage que des lois et règlements exhaustifs. 
  • La collaboration avec les citoyens davantage que la négociation d'un mandat electoral sur la base des promesses d'un programme politique. 
  • L’adaptation et l'anticipation politique davantage que le suivi d’un programme politique. 
Autrement dit, bien qu'il y ait de la valeur dans les secondes propositions de chaque phrase, nous apprécions davantage les premieres."


MAP #4 : Anticipar es prever para actuar

Porque hablar es un acto político, y por iniciativa de los ciudadanos de la revista anticipación política responde de manera innovadora y adecuada a los desafíos de nuestro tiempo, leer el último número.


EDITO- Anticipar es prever para actuar (p.2)

ADMINISTRACION DEL MUNDO - Consejos a los líderes de G20: Las tres prioridades estratégicas del G20 en 2012/2014 para evitar una “década trágica” (p.4)

NUEVA ADMINISTRACION - Hacia un referéndum transeuropeo sobre las cuestiones de la nueva administración? (p.9)

MANUAL DE INSTRUCCIONES - La evaluación de la anticipación (p.12)

ANTICIPACION - El “día siguiente” (a las elecciones presidenciales en EEUU en el 2012) (p.14)

SOCIOLOGIAS- 2012 : surgimiento de la administración maternalista (p.20)

FUTURHEBDO - We need you ! (p.26)

FICCION - Isaac Asimov: Fundación y psico-historia (p.28)

Anticipándose a la cuestión de la administracion democrática en la zona euro esespecialmente importante para todos los ciudadanos europeos que están preocupados por su seguridad futura.

MAP #4 : Antizipation heißt Voraussehen, um handeln zu können

Da spricht ein politischer Akt, und weil die Bürgerinitiative der Politischen AntizipationMagazine reagiert innovativ und angemessen auf die Herausforderungen unserer Zeit, lesen Sie die aktuelle Ausgabe.


EDITO - Antizipation heißt Voraussehen, um handeln zu können (s.2)

GLOBAL GOUVERNANCE - Empfehlungen für die Regierungen der G20, um das tragische Ende der Welt von Gestern zu vermeiden: Die drei strategischen Prioritäten des G20 in den Jahren 2012 bis 2014 (s.4)

NEUE GOVERNANCE - Auf dem Weg zu einem gesamteuroländischen Referendum zur Errichtung einer Wirtschaftsregierung für Euroland? (s.10)

 BEDIENUNGSANLEITUNG - Die Evaluierung der Vorhersagen (s.13)

ANTIZIPATION - Der Tag (da)... nach - dem US- Wahltag (s.15)

SOZIOLOGIE - 2012: Big Mother verdrängt Big Brother (s.21)

FUTURHEBDO - We need you ! (s.28)

 FIKTION - Isaac Asimov : Foundation und Psycho-Geschichte (s.30)

Im Vorgriff auf die Frage der demokratischen Regierungsführung in Euroland ist ein besonders wichtig für alle europäischen Bürger, die über ihre Zukunft die Sicherheit besorgt sind.

Magazine of Political Anticipation #4 : To anticipate is to foresee in order to act

Because public speaking is a political act, and because the citizens' initiative of the Magazine of Political Anticipation responds appropriately and in an innovative way to the challenges of our time, you will be really interested in the newly published MAP #4, freely downloadable.

Contents :

EDITO- To anticipate is to foresee in order to act (p.2)

WORLD GOVERNANCE - Advice to the G20 leaders : the G20’s three strategic priorities in 2012/2014 to avoid a “tragic decade” (p.4)

NEW GOVERNANCE - Towards a trans- European referendum on the issues of new governance ? (p.9)

USER'S GUIDE - Evaluating the anticipation (p.12)

ANTICIPATION: The “Day After” (the 2012 US Presidential Election) (p.14)

SOCIAL STUDIES - 2012 Emergence of maternal governance (p.20)

FUTURHEBDO- We need you ! (p.26)

FICTION - Isaac Asimov: Foundation et Psychohistory (p.28)

The political anticipation on the issue of democratic governance in Euroland is particularly crucial for all European citizens who are concerned about their future security.


Magazine d'Anticipation Politique n4 : Anticiper, c'est prévoir pour agir

Parce que la prise de parole est un acte politique, et parce que l'initiative citoyenne du Magazine d'Anticipation Politique répond de manière innovante et appropriée aux enjeux de notre temps, il faut vraiment s'intéresser au nouveau numéro 4 de MAP, disponible en libre téléchargement.

Sommaire :

EDITO - Anticiper, c’est prévoir pour agir (p.2)

GOUVERNANCE MONDIALE - Conseils aux leaders du G20 : les trois priorités stratégiques du G20 en 2012/2014 pour éviter une “décennie tragique” (p.4)

NOUVELLE GOUVERNANCE Européenne - Vers un référendum transeuropéen sur les questions de nouvelle gouvernance ? (p.9)

MODE D'EMPLOI - L’évaluation de l’anticipation (p.12)

ANTICIPATION - Le “Jour d’Après” (les élections présidentielles US en 2012) (p.14)

SOCIOLOGIES - 2012 : Emergence de la gouvernance maternelle (p.20)

FUTURHEBO - We need you ! (p.26)

FICTION - Isaac Asimov: Fondation et Psychohistoire (p.28)
L'anticipation politique sur la question de la gouvernance démocratique de l'Euroland est un sujet particulièrement crucial pour tous les citoyens européens qui se préoccupent des garanties sur leur avenir.