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What is an Agile mindset?

Agile is based on the values and principles created in 2001, by a group of developers, through the Agile Manifesto. Agile methodologies are usually used within complex context, to solve complex problems. These problems require constant adaptation and quick turn-around, making traditional ways of working inefficient.

As our current world is highly uncertain and changing, more and more companies are looking into transitioning to Agile, even if they are not building softwares.

But it is not an easy transformation and one of the reoccurring challenge that is raised is the lack of culture change.

So what exactly is this Agile mindset?

Agile mindset is a combinaison of skills and behaviors, that enables Agile teams to work together towards a clear vision and goal. There are a lot of articles around, talking about adaptation to change, network, thinking in smaller bits and pushing work soon to leverage early feedback.

All of this is true.

But for me, the real Agile mindset goes beyond that. In fact, it fully embeds the growth mindset for each individual. Coaching is therefore critical to enable another way of thinking, in addition to a new way of working. And it must happen at all levels of the company.

The intent is to develop a culture of high trust, to leverage autonomy and alignment at all levels.

It requires people to learn about emotional intelligence, in order to optimize communication. It drives teams and individuals to shift from order-taking into self-managing, decision making and problem-solving.

This is where moving to Agile is a challenge.

Because people may come with:

  • fixed mindset,
  • with strong beliefs about control,
  • thinking that learning is a finite thing,
  • fear of constant change,
  • fear of judgment,
  • fear of being punished,
  • and so many other personal stuff, shaped by education and culture.

All of this is a matter of beliefs.

And hopefully these challenges can be worked on.

But it is not just about explaining the why, get buy-in, and training people to new ways of working.

It is also about spending time, individually, to deconstruct some obsolete beliefs and to enable new ones. Coaching leaders and their teams is – I believe – one of the best way to be successful in this type of transformation.

It really starts with the people.

After all, we, agilist, value individuals and interactions more 😉

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