Introduction to Agile Mindset
It has been rightly said that Agile is not a process or a method but a ‘mindset’. The set of assumptions or behavior’s facilitating an agile working environment to enhance team performance is termed as having an ‘Agile Mindset’.
What does it Mean to Have an ‘Agile Mindset’?
Having an ‘agile mindset’ is all about embracing a mentality or approach that believes in adapting to change, learning through failures and encouraging feedback to bring in consistent improvement. Agile attitude is all about learning and continual improvement to attain milestones in business.
The attributes contributing to the agile mindset are:
- Respect for team members
- Collaborative efforts
- Continual improvement and learning
- Ability to deliver quality to customers
- Acceptance and Adaption to change
- Ability to convert failures into opportunities
Basically, there is a conceptual difference between ‘Doing Agile’ & ‘Being Agile’. Practicing agile is actually ‘Doing Agile’ and having an agile mindset is all about ‘Being Agile’. In today’s competitive and highly volatile business environment, many organizations, predominantly in the IT sector have adopted agile methodologies to bring in phenomenal changes to boost business productivity. Harnessing an agile mindset enables professionals to forecast problems/issues, enhance productivity and be able to work in sprints unlike the conventional approach to work.
How to Foster ‘Agile Culture’ Through an ‘Agile Mindset’?
Fostering an agile culture in an organization is a continual and ongoing process of driving change in behavioral norms to develop an agile mindset. Here are a few ways to nurture the agile mindset in the organization:
1. Facilitate Flexible Approach
One of the key attributes to the agile approach is the ability to accept change and adapt the projects accordingly. A business eco-system that is volatile and certain to change requires a strategic and flexible approach to manage the uncertainties. Therefore, a team with agile thinking would efficiently sustain and manage change to facilitate productivity.
2. Promote Team Co-ordination and Collaboration: It is essential for teams to be ‘cross-functional’ as the routine scrum discussions would enable them to generate a valuable transfer of information at the advantage of the organization. What’s the point in conducting a meeting between two teams who are functionally the same? As in if all are programmers, they are obviously going to be well-versed in programming. It is essential to put in coders, testers and other experts so as to add inputs to create value for a project as a whole. This promotes knowledge sharing between different teams, thus facilitating the agile thought process.
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3. Focus on Delivering Value to the Customers: The key objective of being agile is all about delivering value and quality to the customers. Therefore, it becomes paramount to understand the needs of the customers and encourage feedback. The project teams should be able to change and adapt quickly to the feedback of the customers so as to bring in continual improvement and upgrading in its products/services. Thus, positive or negative feedback enables the organization to consistently deliver value or bring in continual improvisation so as to offer customers added value.
4. Aspire for Converting Failures to Opportunities: The backbone of agile behavior is all about thinking of ‘failures’ as ‘opportunities’ and bringing in positive change. The agile concept believes in the fact that a product has to continually evolve, upgrade and develop gradually with time. Fundamentally, the agile ideology runs with a fact that if a sprint has not been completed successfully, it needs to be improved.
The training courses conducted on Agile Mindset are created in such a way that they enhance and promote the learning process in an effective way. All the training courses on Agile Mindset are based on 4C’s:
1. Connections: On a psychological level, it is always easy to learn when one feels connected to others and when one acquires new concepts and connects them to what they have already learned about it. ‘Connections’ is about knowing, what the trainee is already aware of (‘particular topic’).
2. Concepts: The concepts of an agile mindset are explained through pictorial descriptions, reading, engaging games, speaking, and writing. It does not have to be necessarily conveyed through a conventional teaching method dictated by a tutor. So, ‘Concepts’ is all about understanding, what the trainee needs to acquire or learn about a particular topic.
3. Concrete Practise: The most effective way to understand a particular concept is to have an opportunity to either practice or preach it. ‘Concrete Practice’ is all about putting the learned concepts into implementation. If the trainee is able to apply the concepts on-job or coach it to others, it indicates that the trainee has understood the concepts correctly. Thus, ‘Concrete Practice’ addresses the learner’s ability to apply the studied concepts or to mentor others on the same.
Well, the most important phase is about connecting the learned concepts to routine or work life so as to make it relevant. So, ‘Conclusions’ is about how the learner has planned to use the gained concepts in real life as to make it effective and worth learning.
The above mentioned ‘4C’s Instructional model’ is used to impart information in all the agile mindset training programs. It enables learning in a brain-based and engaging way based on two-way communication. The agile mindset training courses tend to be trainee-centered unlike the conventional, ‘only tutor-centered’. Therefore, it enables the trainees to retain more information as against just ‘superficial learning’.
So, it makes sense to say that ‘doing agile’ is not possible without ‘being agile’. The researchers have also claimed that 80% of agile can be acquired through training or learning. So, bringing in effective agile transformation is about changing and adopting the ‘mindset’. Thus, creating efficient agile teams to attain milestones starts with fostering agile mindsets¸ and propagating the same. Ultimately, without an agile mindset, there cannot be an agile team!
‘If you want to do agile, train yourself to be agile first’! Get yourself enrolled for a training course and discover the ‘agile you’.
This has been a guide to Agile Mindset. Here we discussed the Concept, Getting trained, Fostering Agile Culture and what does it mean to have an Agile Mindset. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –