Sharing the Agile Mindset

Has your Agile program plateaued? Do your teams struggle with becoming Agile? Here, we discuss the psychology of developing an Agile mindset that will lift your teams, leadership and organizations to become more resilient in an ever-changing business world. Check out the full webinar here.

In the webinar, we:

  • Explore creativity through exceptional intuitive thinking
  • Discuss how to develop a culture of ‘deliberate thinking’
  • Discover how a growth mindset enables us to learn faster and be resilient
  • Questions on expanding the Agile mindset throughout the organization

Creativity

The ability for an individual, team or organization to facilitate creative ideas is at the heart of the Agile Mindset.  Creating an environment of collaborative and diverse thought patterns helps us enrich the development of new ideas.  Here are some tips in facilitating creative thought:

  • Double the power of creative thinking by starting your collaboration with a fun activity. Tell a funny story or start with a fun segue question – get everyone in a good mood to help their intuition connect with new ideas
  • Visualize the conversation and connections on a whiteboard or utilize post-it notes. Reveal groups of ideas and draw connections.  Embrace everyone’s ideas equally to enrich the diversity of ideas.

Culture of ‘Deliberate Thinking’

We live in a distracted world – cell phones, email, messaging.  Even worse, teams of people working on five or more projects at the same time.  We have lost the ability for teams to be empowered, committed and accountable.  Creating a team that is focused is another cornerstone of the Agile Mindset.  Try this:

  • Avoid task switching. Much of our deep thinking goes to waste when being pulled in different directions.  More importantly, focus the entire team on sprint deliverables. This will multiply the thinking power of everyone on the team.
  • Divide complex tasks into multiple steps. Small steps that can be worked on by the entire team. Breakdown your deliverables into a day or two of work.

Growth Mindset – Becoming Resilient

Changing a culture of “know-it-all’s” to becoming “learn-it-all’s” was the focus of Microsoft over the past ten years.  Becoming learn-it-all’s meant adopting experimentation and failure as a part of everyday work.  Being curious and accepting risk is part of everyone’s mission.  So how would you begin such a transformation?  Try this:

  • Develop a team learning culture that challenges the status quo of working. Teams work together but also collaborate with other teams to ensure their deliverable efforts are coordinated.
  • Mutual accountability and empowerment within the team allows them to be fearless in times of change. The teams learn from their failures and take their own risks.

Expanding the Agile Mindset – Q&A

During the webinar Q&A there were a number of excellent questions related to leadership and organizations clinging on to their pre-existing non-agile practices.  So how do you address these kinds of challenges toward adopting an Agile mindset?

There are no quick answers but here are some tips:

  • Start with, agile training for leadership. The most successful training/coaching I’ve done is with the leadership team.  Even better, a three-day bootcamp with everyone – leadership, management, teams and business people.  All in one room at the same time.  To enable leadership to walk-the-talk it is highly recommended they pursue the Certified Agile Leadership program to gain the necessary skills.
  • Clinging on to pre-existing practices while teams try to become agile is difficult. Increasing the accountability within the teams is needed.  Sometimes it requires integrating missing roles within the team (lack of QA, architecture, security).  Some of the existing practices are there to mitigate risk or check quality.  As teams mature it is a good idea to bring these roles and more importantly integrate practices into the team deliverables.  This also includes updates to the planning horizon.

 

This is a lot to digest in one blog posting or a one-hour webinar.  Take small steps each day.  First, help the teams gain traction.  Help them embrace change and failure as part of their normal working day.  And continue to engage leadership to help steer the culture of your organization towards an Agile mindset.