Agile a mindset

Agile: A Mindset – Not Just A Methodology

Companies are all saying “we’re Agile”. However, for 90% of those that say that, they either mean:

  • “We’ve sent everyone on an Agile training course”, or
  • “We have daily stand-ups, post-it notes plastered everywhere and have done away with documentation”
Agile is a methodology, but more importantly it’s a mindset and a culture. It must start from the top down to support from the bottom up.

To be truly agile you need leaders who encourage flexibility, creativity and empower those under them. When the going gets tough, teams need leaders who understand what it means to be agile, help clear the roadblocks, not fall back on previous waterfall processes.

Too many times do I hear:

“We tried agile but it just didn’t work.”

“We have agile testing…”

“We combine agile and waterfall!”

Previously I’ve talked about Agile being a toolbox of processes and practices, where you pick and choose what’s right for your business or organisation and this is still correct. However, you don’t just flip the switch: yesterday we were a waterfall organisation, today we are agile…

Find the right time, project or bright spot in your organisation and plan for that one area to work differently from the start.

Bring everyone together, as you can’t have agile testing without agile architects, developers and BA’s

Encourage and support the members of that team, because they will trip up many times during the journey and expose the organisation’s impediments. Bo open, be honest and collaborate.

Make sure you roll out the changes in an agile manner. Believe me when I say that there is nothing more frustrating than being told, “we’re working in an agile way but won’t be deploying anything until it’s all been delivered.”

Use leaders who will defend the new way of working to the wider organisation and who will not fall back on previous ways or bad habits of working when the going gets tough.

And finally, there’s a saying that “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.” Well, the same can be said about agile!