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Agile Mindset

What is an Agile Mindset? & How to Develop it?

Agile Organizations are flourishing not only in the Information Technology market but also in many other domains. There are numerous reasons why organizations have preferred Agile Methodology over other types of methodologies. Some of them are reduced risks, shorter time-to-market, early return of investments, and so on. Due to these kinds of benefits in recent years, it is seen that most of the organizations have either already implemented Agile or are planning to implement Agile. Many organizations have assured that after implementing Agile their company has seen significant growth in finance, productivity, employee job satisfaction, growth, etc. It may be believed that Agile practices and skills are the reason for the success of Agile. However, it is not just the skills, practices, and values that make Agile unique from other methodologies; it is the Agile Mindset that sets Agile apart from all others. 

Agile Mindset is a set of attitudes and beliefs that support working in an Agile environment. As Carol Dweck popularized the idea of a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, an Agile Mindset could be derived from these mindsets as seen from the retrospect. A fixed mindset is a mindset where the person is an expert in their field and believes that their skills are an innate gift and no amount of practice or hard work can replicate their work. These types of people want to avoid failure and do not take risks, and focus on the skills that they already know. They do not try to learn new ideas or skills as they do not want to accept any failure coming their way. However, the growth mindset is almost an opposite mindset where the person is willing to learn about any new skills that would make them better. They understand that growth and development are a crucial part of the learning process and always strive to improve their knowledge and enhance their growth in the company.

What is an Agile Mindset?

Implementing an Agile Project Development in the company or to a team should be understood thoroughly by the company. More than the terms, meetings, practices, or the user stories it is very important to develop an Agile Mindset. An Agile Mindset can be defined as a group of attitudes incorporated by the employees in the Agile environment that includes various factors such as respect, coordination, collaboration, taking pride in ownership, improvement, focusing on delivering value, learning cycles, and most importantly having the ability to adopt change. An Agile Mindset is highly necessary for nourishing and cultivating high-performing teams, who deliver an incredible amount of value to the customers as a result.  

An Agile Mindset helps the team to manage itself even if they aren’t familiar with the terms in Agile. It forms a culture that is implemented to accept or adopt the cultural norms. If any company truly wants to cultivate the Agile Mindset, they have to make the mindset a part of the organization’s culture. 

Components of the Agile Mindset

Agile Mindset is an abstract concept where the members of the organization have more of a growth mindset and always work towards improving themselves and also the company at large. The growth mindset can be cultivated in people by making changes in the environment or culture of the company. Hence, the company has to have an Agile environment to promote the Agile Mindset. In simpler terms, when the company promotes certain values in its employees such as respect, collaboration, etc. it ensures a more Agile environment and also promotes the Agile Mindset. Here are a few components of the Agile Mindset that have to be cultivated by the members of the organization which enhances the Agile environment. 

1. Respect

An appropriate Agile environment can only be created when the team members have respect towards one another. This is the key value that ensures that everyone in the team knows how much value each person is delivering to the team. At an organizational level, the members are supposed to have respect for their colleagues at all levels of the company, the customers, and the product itself. Everyone wants to work in an environment where they feel they are important and respected. Also, every project can only be completed when the members believe in their product and respect the product that they are building or have built. Hence, the employees should have a sense of respect for one another and other members of the organization and also to the product itself.

2. Collaboration

For any organization to run efficiently, the collaboration among the members of the organization has to be excellent. With the rise in the development of complex systems and many complex problems being solved, it is difficult that only a single person can handle all the operations. There are multiple members of various departments that have to come together to develop a specific product or to complete a particular task. When collaboration between people and collaboration between the departments run smoothly, the organization becomes productive and efficient.

3. Improvement cycles

Agile Mindset always encourages the members to grow and always keep learning. The processes incorporated to develop the products should significantly enhance as the company grows. No processes should be fixed as there should always be room for improvement in the company. When there is an improvement, the company has chances of greater growth in terms of many factors such as revenue and finance, customer satisfaction, and also employees’ job satisfaction. Any organization that focuses on supporting such behavior would always have a hold on procedural adherence.

4. Learning cycles

An Agile Mindset is a modified version of the growth mindset where individuals have to learn and try something new and possibly fail such that they learn a new concept and have greater opportunities in the future. Agile organizations promote such excellent learning opportunities to the employees such that they enhance themselves and also improve the company. Organizations should always encourage the employees to learn something new and should not be dinged for mistakes. They should increase the group’s knowledge by supporting them to take risks.

5. Pride in Ownership

The team members should always be encouraged to take pride in their work. Even if there is not a single person that owns that particular piece of code, the ownership of the code should be taken by everyone. When the code delivers value to the product, pride should be taken by everyone. This increases their desire to deliver high-quality work each time they develop a product or product increment.

6. Focusing on Delivering Value

The primary goal of any Agile team is to deliver value to the customer. The team’s focus should entirely consist of delivering the greatest value possible for the customer. The Development Team should always remember that others in the organization such as Managers, ScrumMaster, and Product Owners are always present to remove any impediments present during the development of the product. Hence, the focus of the team should be on delivering value to the customers.

7. Ability to adapt change

The ability to adopt change is one of the major factors in the Agile Mindset. The customer has the right to change their requirements and the team has to be ready for any kind of change that they are challenged for. An Agile Mindset helps the person to be comfortable with changes and hence the people with this mindset embrace change and are always ready to face it and adapt to it. 

How to Develop an Agile Mindset?

As we see that an Agile Mindset is quite essential for any organization to flourish. But the main question arises as to how do we develop the Agile Mindset? Here are a few suggestions that would help many professionals develop the Agile Mindset.

  • Find various methods to identify and seize the opportunities for working with numerous members of the organization in an Agile approach. This helps individuals to learn more from other people and possess greater knowledge about the Agile processes.
  • Be curious and let go of the old ideas of how a product should be formed. Reading the environment and adapting to changes is always a great way to enhance the Agile Mindset.
  • Critical thinking techniques should be developed by the person which also includes acting towards a consequence and not just reacting to it.
  • Reflect and analyze work done and always be humble towards others. Though this may not come naturally to most people but practicing this trait would make the person wiser and inculcate a sense of superpower.
  • Always report with transparency by reporting the numbers to the members of the team. This creates an environment that promotes growth and improvement by measuring their success and enables them to view how they have improved over time.
Conclusion

Agile should be thought of as a journey; when one thinks that they have mastered it, it throws an element of surprise. The beauty of Agile is in the ability to respond to the surprise. Agile Mindset is not a prerequisite for any Agile adoption nor it is required for a functional Agile team. However, when an Agile Mindset is nourished and cultivated regardless of before, during, or after Agile adoption, the Agile teams and the organization as a whole experience incredible results, happy and passionate employees who deliver great value to the customers and make them satisfied with the results. Hence, having an Agile Mindset is all about adding value from the outset and collaboratively working with everyone such that they share a common goal and continuously improve the product and themselves.

References

https://www.infoq.com/articles/what-agile-mindset/
https://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/an-introduction-to-the-agile-mindset/
https://medium.com/agile-it/agile-mindset-starts-with-you-568b544e17ae

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