I was talking to good friends last night over beers about how often agile is used incorrectly as a tool to help a company achieve their desired outcomes.

  1. What do companies want from “becoming agile”?
  2. How should a company properly apply agile to achieve their goals?

What’s interesting to me is that these aren’t hard questions to answer but they seem almost impossible for most companies to get right. And further, it seems to me there are some very common sense things, not really even agile-specific things, that a company can do to get these things right. …

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True “business agility” is quite difficult for most larger organizations. It means having the whole company embrace agile concepts. The effect is amazing as it creates a truly agile company, one that can move in lockstep with the market and adjust internal marketing, finance, business strategy and execution more seamlessly. Whether you call this Teal like Frederic Laloux, having an Agile Company, embracing Enterprise Agility, or you actually understand Business Agility, it’s probably even more rare than I suspect most people think.

Where all companies start on the road to Business Agility is by slowly expanding on their initial success…

Copyright 2015: Abdul Raheem Mohamed, licensed via EyeEm Mobile GmbH

I think if you asked most people where does Lean show up in their agile process, they’d have some intuitive idea that it was there somewhere but maybe not where specifically. Lean, of course, is a foundational element of the XP Values and Principles and is baked into the six Core Practices of Kanban. And yet the word “lean” isn’t in either. Nor does the word show up much in the Scrum Guide, though it is in the first paragraph of the “Scrum Theory” portion:

“Scrum is founded on empiricism and lean thinking. Empiricism asserts that knowledge comes from experience…

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During the entire course of the pandemic through January 2021 (and even before COVID started), my Practical Agilist Newsletter has remained dormant. It has taken a great deal of grit and motivation to get started again. I hope you like it. If you were a subscriber before you will notice the name has changed somewhere along the way from Agile Columbus to Practical Agilist. One thing I’ve learned in the pandemic is that geography doesn’t matter as much anymore and we are all much more open to experiencing things remotely. …

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The word mindset is elusive. Maybe you’ve heard people say “agile is a mindset” or “you need to understand the agile mindset to BE agile” (as opposed to just DOING agile). So what do they mean? And what exactly is a mindset? My answer might surprise you as I don’t necessarily agree with other depictions online (though I do love the perspectives written by Steve Denning in his 2019 Forbes article “Understanding the Agile Mindset”.)

The word mindset is defined as a set of beliefs and attitudes that determines how someone thinks about something. If one has a ‘growth mindset’…

Some agile books are like Star Wars planets to me. The whole freaking planet is water or desert or forests or nothing but urban sprawl or whatever. That just doesn’t make sense. I’d like to see a little bit of everything in a more realistic planet, for a well-balanced and holistic ecosystem.

That’s what I’d like in an agile book about agile transformations and business agility. (fwiw, we still need books on singular topics like Star Wars planets, I just want to put together something different)

I’ve had this idea about writing a book for a while now, but hadn’t…

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If you’ve studied the agile mindset, principles, behaviors and practices, you likely know intuitively how an agile transformation can be successful.

In a nutshell, it goes like this:

  • Form self-sufficient, long-lasting, durable product teams. Embrace product management principles and make “Product” part of the organization, maybe even the center of the organization, connecting business and technology.
  • Train and coach early adopter teams in the agile mindset and practices. Either partner with or hire skilled agile coaches.
  • Build up Scrum Masters and Product Owners to be agile champions. Bolster your Learning and Development function. …

Well, I sorta made up that phrase. There are actually NO real laws in agile, not like there are in mathematics or physics at least. By the very nature of its name, agile is nimble, flexible, and meant to be applied as a set of values, principles, and ultimately new ways of thinking or mindsets. Laws by contrast are often decidedly fixed and inflexible, which I think makes this an interesting topic to discuss!

So, I don’t care what role you’re in, but if you’re on an agile team or working with one, there’s one thing you can work on that will become a critical ingredient to your team’s success. You may be a manager of a team member, a scrum master, a product owner or a team member. But if you work on something I call “noticing” and actively work on the communication between you and the team, you will experience a profound impact to your outcomes and ability to work together as a cohesive team.

This is especially true NOW during the…

Middle management has a profound impact on your agile transformation

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Over a long period of time, a culture of bad habits accumulate the same way climate change has impacted the wildfires in the western US, Australia and elsewhere.

The world has changed. And the pace of change has increased too. It’s a VUCA world. Everything around us has become more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Our behaviors and cultural needs are changing too. And just like if we never stopped using certain kinds of aerosols, the hole in the ozone will keep getting bigger. To change and adapt, it requires…

Brian Link

Agile Coach at Practical Agilist and LeanDog. Writes and enjoys product, leadership, business agility, agile transformation, scaling and all things agile.

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