agility is only as hard (or easy) as you can make it…

I have been intrigued why most of the time ‘simple is hard’.Often we try to make things look and sound way more complicated than they ever should be. We over think a problem, forget to get the basics right and then complain when things don’t go our way.And then in an attempt to back ourselves we over complicate the simplest of tasks.

It is a well established and acknowledged that agility is more about the mindset than anything else – like  automation tools , delivery processes and/ or best practices. But how do we define agile mindset.It is  challenging to articulate “The agile mindset ?”.Often during interviews i come across candidates who are excellent in whichever field they are applying for such as developer, business analyst, Test Analyst. They show excellent technical chops, analytical abilities and good organisational skills but even they they do not seem to have the ‘agile mindset’.

Every time I start thinking about the “ideal” mindset it becomes hard to come up with a complete and appropriate description.

So, I turned around my thought and started capturing  all the attributes of a ‘not an agile mindset”.It was rather easy to identify ‘things’ that do not fit the ‘agile mindset’ requirements instead.

I then categorised the attributes on a scale of hard, harder and hardest for  – habits /behaviours/ attitudes. Here is what I came up with.

  • Hard (it can be fixed with coaching and/or mentoring
    • When someone is not a natural collaborator
    • When someone is a “trust but verify” sort of person
    • When someone doesn’t not naturally possess “connect the dots” mentality
    • When someone cannot operate within a little bit of ambiguity
    • When someone always insist of being 100% accurate
    • When someone does not have the ‘big picture’ or vision or purpose in sight
    • When someone does not understand the agile manifesto and its core message
    • When someone has not done / experienced successful delivery using agile concepts
    • When someone does not understand the difference between responsibility and ownership
  • Harder (it can be fixed but with mindset changes that are more intrinsic to a person)
    • When someone is  not a good listener
    • When someone is not a good follower
    • When someone is not willing to ‘let go’
    • When someone is always throwing the ‘experience’ instead of a rationale opinion.
    • When one cannot balance pragmatism and perfectionism
    • When someone always doubts or questions the vision
    • When one blindly follows the ‘best practices’ without appreciating the values and principles 
    • When someone has worked in (fr)agile instead of agile teams
    • When someone is used to only raising suggestions/opinions rather than taking on a challenge and following it through
  • Hardest (Don’t bother fixing it)
    • When one cannot accept decision if it is not theirs
    • When someone doesn’t have a small improvements mentality
    • When someone is not a ‘give it a go’ sort of person
    • When someone doesn’t like transparency or open environment
    • When one believes that ‘their project is a different’


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