Agile as a mindset or a methodology?

Agile as a mindset or a methodology?

5 years ago 0 0 1226

There is so much to be gained by using positive project methodologies such as scrum or agile. It can positively change organisations when they take on modern project methodologies that turn old ways on their heads.

The problem with these approaches is when they become fixed in the business as a methodology, rather than unleashing what they can being as a mindset. Let me explain.

If I use an ‘agile methodology’, then I become process bound to do ‘sprints’ and all of the other specific process elements that are described in the agile process. Sure, I can get a certificate in agile process, and then become rigid around enforcing that process in my business. I have seen one sales team that used the scrum ‘daily standup meets’ with all of the hoopla, and a complete disinterest from the staff involved. However, because it was ‘in the process’, it was put above what could clearly be seen with a single attendance – that it was demotivating, time wasting and simply being done because it was in the ‘manual’.

On the other hand, if I have an agile mindset, then I will take a flexible and curious approach to getting to the best outcome. If I stay agile on behalf of the customer or consumer, rather than be wedded to a fixed process methodology, then in the end everyone will win. This is one of the biggest challenges for leaders, because when something ‘works’ (a new process), we love to hang onto it. It may have been great to help establish a change from old ways, but when does it become obsolete in its own right?

The important distinction here is one that follows on from any new process improvement in a business – we lose sight of the purpose of the adaptation, and instead become fixated on holding on to the process.

Agile and Scrum, for example, were excellent ways to shift from old, unwieldy projects to faster, more iterative, responsive processes that provided significant benefit in the software industry. However, simply taking this as the ‘new normal’ is not enough.

If leaders can stay curious, can be open to new ideas, and to allow appropriate experimentation at the edges of their business then they will truly be agile. As the customer and consumer continues to shift their expectations and experience requirements, then being truly agile means that we truly have the customer at the heart of our thinking, and that with safe experiments, we work out what needs to change in a continuous development process, to keep us relevant into the future.

What you can do:

Fear and habit are the two biggest enemies of your business. Note where you follow your processes ‘because that is what we have always done’ or ‘that is what it says in the manual’, and take the time to reflect on that from a customer experience perspective. Who does this rigidity actually serve? And if you were to experiment with an agile and curious mindset, what would be the risk or the potential benefit?

If you want to know more about shifting to an agile mindset around your business, then contact Philip Owens now.

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