Nature or Nurture: The Agile Mindset

Insights | 17 February 2020

Does collaboration, trust and being change friendly come second nature to you? How about always being customer-focussed? These behaviours may be inherent in the nature of work for some but others in your organisation may have another mindset – at least some of the time.

What are ‘agile’ behaviours?

Key agile behaviours which typify the agile mindset include:

  • Being collaborative. This involves a shared understanding and ownership of objectives and deliverables, both internally and externally with all stakeholders, particularly the customer. It is about authenticity, tolerance, compromise, allowing space for ideas and being humble.
  • Self-organising. People closest to the work typically know best how to execute the work. Trusting people to create a plan, own it and thereby buy into it, means that it is more likely to happen.
  • Customer-focussed. A key objective of agile is to provide value to the customer by delivering valuable, working features as soon as possible so that benefits can be realised without delay. It is about putting the customer needs first at all times.
  • Empowering the team means that it is the team that have the authority and capability to make decisions and to schedule their work. If the team encounter any issues that impact their boundaries of empowerment, then they can involve others as required.
  • Information should be readily available and visible. This enables clarity, speed of decision making and helps foster engagement. Transparency is not just about visibility but includes values of honesty, trust, integrity and respect.
  • Learning fast is key in agile. Frequent iterations and feedback are vital in providing an opportunity to learn. Feedback should be sought collaboratively. Small increments enable learning over time; short feedback loops enable faster progress and reduce the impact of mistakes.
  • Trusting not blaming. A safe and trusting environment allows everyone to experiment and make mistakes so that each can learn and continuously improve the way he/she works. Build trust by sharing information, both the good and bad.

“One of the quickest ways to stifle creativity is to micromanage employees and create a culture where they are afraid to make the wrong decision.”

A guide to AgileSHIFT®, AXELOS, 2018

AgileSHIFT® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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