Change enforces agility. The purpose of this sense in an environment of continuous change is that obvious, that many good explanations can be found in the internet already. Before I point at them and close this chapter, let’s have a quick look at the implementation of agility…
Agility in the business domain in general starts by looking at the features and possibilities of agile processes. Scrum or Kanban are typical processes, which are referenced when we are asked to implement agile processes. And many implementations of agile processes fail miserably, because the emphasize is on process rather than agility. It is a common problem, as often the managers decide to implement agile processes, who are looking for ways to keep control over the process to be able to do a proper reporting. But agility is not process – it is mindset following basic principles. It is not a matter of implementation, it is a matter of change itself.
Agility considers everyone to work based on principles instead of conventions. It encourages to work accepting change whenever it happens instead of following strict plans. Welcome change is one of the key paradigms of agility. It has been formulated in the Agile Manifest, which can be seen as the fundament to master agility. But as it already says in the context of the manifest, it is lightweight, simple to understand, and difficult to master. And mastery is one of the big challenges of agile working environments.
Recent times have shown the real power of agile mindsets, as more organizations accept that agility is not a matter of development processes only, but is a cultural aspect of the whole organization. Teams have to understand the principles of agility to be able to be empowered. Empowerment again leads into the structures, which involve the whole organization. And organization, which foster empowerment of every individual employee, turn out to be much more flexible and robust towards change.
An interesting aspect of agility is the tight link into values. One can show, that agile teams in general have a strong addiction to a specific set of values: Focus, Courage, Openness, Commitment, and Respect. These values are definitely not the common values one can find in a settled industry, which has been managed by hierarchies over many years. But without acceptance of the values, agile setups will not work.
While leaders in general have a good grasp of the power of agile thinking, agile teams, and agile organizations, agility is something we need to experience. Only experience makes us understand the values we can get from it. Evidence can be seen from the principles and schemas, which come with agile setups. As far as I can see every single concept comes with a kind of iteration. Only iteration will imply continuous learning and continuous adaptation. And that leads me back to the start. Change enforces agility. Only the implementation is not that easy.
“Design Thinking” has become very popular within the last couple of years, as it refers to creative strategies for understanding issues and problem resolution in a much broader way
Principles behind the “Agile Manifest” form the foundation of agile implementations
Looking at “The Scrum Guide” can be a worthwhile, as the interpretation of common challenges of agile systems becomes obvious (while I have to highlight that Scrum definitely is not the only interpretation of agile processes)
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