Agile Methodology Fails Without an Agile Mindset

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Agile Methodology Fails Without an Agile Mindset

Mindset is everything!

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Agile is all about the Agile mindset.

Agile is all about the Agile mindset.

Agile is the Buzz of the industry as more and more people and organizations are talking about Agile. My first engagement with Agile happened around 2011 when I was with Deloitte. I was a Product Owner at that time and there I was trained on Agile Methodology with Scrum as a Framework.

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During that time, it was all together with a new WORD (Scrum Agile) or we can say a new buzz in the Industry. People (All IT companies, IT Professionals) were still riding on the SDLC model. The overall mindset as very different, things (projects) were getting delivered in a sequential approach.

Though learning consortia had been operated over the years for other disciplines, as far as we knew this was the first one to focus on how companies are coping with adopting at scale new management practices that generally go under the umbrella name "Agile".

Since then the topic of the "Agile Mindset" has become more and more prominent. Experienced Agile coaches and consultants have regularly observed that the greatest impediment to transforming organizations is transforming the mindsets of its members.

Yes, that’s true the greatest impediment was to transform the mindset of individuals and organizations. It’s all about embracing the Agile mindset.

This adds to a very important question put across “Do you have an Agile Mindset?”

"Agile mindset" is nothing but a nebulous, intangible term that describes a value or behavior necessary for the success of Agile methodology, transformation, process, and practices.

Try to think back to when you were first learning something, like driving a bicycle. I remember having to repeat the procedure again and again until I finally got it right.

Having an Agile mindset applies as much to learning how to drive a bicycle. It just means that you are well equipped and willing to learn throughout your life from your own experiences, both positive and negative, and the experiences of those around you. The same applies to build an Agile mindset.

An agile mindset is an individual’s willingness to deal with failure by learning from it and changing how things are done so as not to repeat the failure. This is a very important step in this Agile journey.

Also, here, within organizations, we are talking about the human mindsets, their acceptance and willingness to move ahead with this Agile culture.

We must remember, Agile is NOT just a process model, rather it’s an Organizational Mindset.

It's very important to strategize the overall implementation and adoption of Agile, and few ways and thinking of same are:

1) Start with a concept and high-level Architecture — Enterprise Architects need to know high-level Business Concepts, Strategies, and Markets.

2) Business and IT must collaborate and decide — Act as a bridge in bringing business and IT together to collaborate, co-design and co-create.

3) Work in small self-directed teams —Change from large hierarchy-driven groups to small empowered teams that have full ownership from vision to delivery.

4) Work in sprints to deliver quick, visible results  Part of the small team, the entrepreneurial approach is being quick on your feet.

5) Fail fast, learn and adjust — The team must try new ways, without fear, fail fast and recover fast with lessons learned to redo things better. In an entrepreneurial sense, it is rewarding, as the virtuous cycle runs from ideas to products to failures, leading to better ideas, thus spiraling rapid transformation.

6) Refine as you go  Continuous improvement with regular updates and upgrades to refine the products, services and experiences are key to the Agile way of delivering things.

7) Teaming with trust and triumph  Agility is a mindset, a culture that depends on people working together in small teams in a focused, outcome-oriented approach, in a trusted environment. Agile architectures and designs are difficult, mainly because most of us are not used to the level of rapid collaboration, flexibility, and change.

People think that AGILE is all related to Information Technology but that’s not true. Agile is not restricted to Information Technology, it’s the methodology that can be applied to all business operations.

Embracing Agile at an Enterprise level is widely believed to lead to the much-desired increase in flexibility, time-to-market and customer satisfaction.

It's a good way to start changing mindset and shedding useless rules and low-value activities can have a quick, positive effect on the workflow and the employee experience.

To increase velocity requires changing the culture to support an agile mindset and agile processes.

Leaders must push for it, but speeding decisions by reducing processes can ignite all the other cultural changes true agility requires.

And yes, culture is hard to change. The mindset is hard to change. Processes are hard to change.

So before a company can truly go agile, its leaders have to decide which they care about more: maintaining the current culture or gaining the future customer.

The real need for top-level change starts when most of the organization is having an agile mindset. The Agile transformation is about being agile.

Agile Methodology Fails Without an Agile Mindset

An important aspect of an agile mindset is an individual’s willingness to handle failure by learning and changing how things need to be done so as not to repeat the failure.

People (people within an organization) with an agile mindset embraces challenges instead of avoiding them as he understands that failure does not define.

For all this, Leadership plays a very important role in bringing and pushing this behavior of Agile which is important for the overall success of the Agile Methodology.

Agile Is Not Only It (Information Technology), It’s an Organizational Cultural Shift.

When we talk about embracing the Agile culture in an organization, we talk about the shift in the overall mindset because it’s the mindset that helps achieve results. Organizations are all about people, processes, policies, etc.

Responding to change is an integral part of Agile.

Unless leaders adopt agile mindsets to manage agile teams, they can create obstacles instead of facilitating the agile approaches to developing new products.

It's very important that what kind of mindset the Organization Leadership team has with Agile adoption.

The Agile Leadership should exhibit the following competencies like:

1) Sense and Respond to Change.

2) Helps Teams to make great decisions by giving responsibilities, ownership and empowering the teams.

3) Build a Trust atmosphere.

4) Experiment, Learn, Adapt and Move Forward.

Leaders are central to building and sustaining a lean-agile culture. Because many leaders have risen in a traditional hierarchy, they will exhibit behaviors that have made them successful in the past even as the organization commits to change its way of working. Changing those behaviors is challenging, and the reason why coaching is so important.

Agile does need a different mindset to ride on, it just needs an attitude and mindset to embrace change.

Further Reading

Your Future Is In People With a Learning Agile Mindset

Agile Principles in Action

agile, agile approach, agile methodology, agile mindset, approach, kapilpuri, mindset, scrum, scrum alliance

Published at DZone with permission of Kapil Puri . See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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