Content strategy

Agile development, lean UX … What about a Lean Content Manifesto?

What would a Lean Content Manifesto look like?

The digital world needs a Lean (or should that be Agile?) Content Manifesto. If you agree, get in touch!

Developer and UXers are ahead of us, and it’s working for them

Making software used to take longer, and be way more painful than it should. The wrong people were in control and devs ended up having to focus on the wrong stuff. It sucked. So a group of forward-thinking people who cared wrote the Agile Manifesto, which duly took over the world:

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

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

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

Meanwhile, UX work has a reputation for taking ages and being expensive. But lean UX is catching on. The Lean UX Manifesto is deliberately familiar:

We are developing a way to create digital experiences that are valued by our end users. Through this work, we hold in high regard the following:

  • Early customer validation over releasing products with unknown end-user value
  • Collaborative design over designing on an island
  • Solving user problems over designing the next “cool” feature
  • Measuring KPIs over undefined success metrics
  • Applying appropriate tools over following a rigid plan
  • Nimble design over heavy wireframes, comps or specs

As stated in the Agile Manifesto, “While there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

Working out what’s important and what it’s more important than, and then using that to tell the world what we’re all about, seems like a great idea to me. So, why isn’t there a Lean (or Agile) Content Manifesto yet? And who wants to make it happen?

By the way, this quote from Jim Highsmith’s history of the Agile Manifesto is truly lovely, and points us in a great direction

We all felt privileged to work with a group of people who held a set of compatible values, a set of values based on trust and respect for each other and promoting organizational models based on people, collaboration, and building the types of organizational communities in which we would want to work. At the core, I believe Agile Methodologists are really about “mushy” stuff—about delivering good products to customers by operating in an environment that does more than talk about “people as our most important asset” but actually “acts” as if people were the most important, and lose the word “asset”. So in the final analysis, the meteoric rise of interest in—and sometimes tremendous criticism of—Agile Methodologies is about the mushy stuff of values and culture.

Jim Highsmith’s history of the Agile Manifesto.

By Max Johns

Content strategist and web writer.

1 reply on “Agile development, lean UX … What about a Lean Content Manifesto?”

Hi Max!

I’m Ally – I work at We’ve been working on a lean content framework for about a year now, and just released the first version on SlideShare. We’ve been having events every month over the last year to talk about lean content methodologies and I would love to talk to further about it!

Check out our SlideShare:

And our lean content resources :

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