This page helps understand Agile - the term that has evolved after creation of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Agile is also used to describe Agile way of working and I consider those a synonyms here. My belief is that Agile is and can be simpler and to benefit from Agile, we need to start with understanding it. You can read this page A-Z (recommended) or by selecting parts. At the end of the page you should have a better understanding of Agile and Agile Coaching should be making much more sense to you, especially for people and teams outside of software and Information technology (IT). In case you're an Agile expert and still think you could benefit from interacting with me, contact me or explore the other topic effectiveness.
The biggest issue with Agile is overcomplication of the term with generalizations and no context considerations in the last 20+ years. Here, Agile is at the center of simplification and your context. Once we look at Agile this way, we step by step realize that:
Agile is simpler than we assume or have been told.
Being Agile is cheaper than we assume or have been told.
Agile transformation can be renamed to Agile evolution.
This page guides you through Agile, my personal writings and experience with the topic, trusted sources, examples and language update to make it easier to understand. Consider this as your new turning point in your Agile journey in which you already are. It can also serve as a place of common ground about what is Agile.
Me, them and work
Agile is a capability. The other word to think of Agile is Adaptive. We are born with it. Our organisms adapt all the time. Otherwise we wouldn't have grown up and some of us defined Agile :). As children we can consider ourselves pretty Agile - we explore the world via curiosity, we play, have fun, do not get stuck on things that much. We move on rather easily. Why is that so? Why being Agile in childhood is easier? The answer probably lies in the context - it is relatively simpler for us back then. There is someone who cares about us in many ways, we are unaware about realities of life like getting income to sustain lives. It all seems quite natural order of things for many of us in childhood.
As we grow up and attend kindergarten, then school, later university, we continue to be Agile (Adaptive), but the contexts change. Those become more complex, much more personal (we understand ourselves better) and public (we understand the world better) at the same time. More people and situations start to appear. As well as more limitations and constraints. We cannot do things just like we want anymore, we need to take into account the context and other people. This plays out differently for different people because we have different mindsets, ways of thinking, personalities and already some past life experiences as well as future goals.
And then work comes.... At some point we start working for someone or for ourselves, and the most important thing here is that we need to get something done & be successful together in something that is valuable for someone else (user, customer, etc.). Interactions and social life becomes more saturated and conflicts are unavoidable. This is where things can stay easy & fun mixed with seriousness of money making or can get really bad in many ways. We continue to be Agile here, but this whole new context comes into the play with lots of new limitations and constraints again. And that changes the way we need to be Agile (Adaptive). In a way, we need to continue adapting our Agile :). How do we do that? Patience. Keep on reading...
agile mindset vs Agile thinking
There is this word combo floating around in the industry: Agile mindset. I better like Agile thinking and let me explain why. The word mindset is static. It's a mind that is set. We all have one and it determines our natural us - our personality and mentality. Changing that would probably be irreversible and I am not sure that people need nor want that.
Thinking is a verb in the first place. It is a dynamic, continuous action. It is something that can be changed if required, needed and wanted. One can develop a special way of thinking in the context. For example, a chess game is what requires a special way of thinking that can be developed and it has nothing to do with the mindset. Agile thinking is like a chess game - you can develop it once you know the rules (Agile values & principles) and have context (the game of chess) that requires those. And for this same reason probably we know the existence of Lean thinking and not Lean mindset.
I would guess there's been a lot about Agile so far on this page. Just one more time :). What is the benefit of being Agile? I am Agile. So what? What is the outcome of being Agile? Below are few short videos that I invite you to watch about Agile in real business life:
From the videos: Pretty creative and adaptive people, right? We can say they have managed to evolve their personal Agile being to the new levels. This is a real Agile at scale - group of people adapting themselves for a greater, common good. Isn't the outcome fantastic?
Below is one video and two sources about the essence of Agile. That's actually it. There's not much more at the essential, fundamental level. Books, articles, blog posts, etc. are all interpretations of Agile's 4 values and 12 principles. Explore those yourself below, do not hurry and make your own conclusions. And remember about the two videos above - that are real examples of tangible outcomes from Agile way of doing things of the stuff described below. And one important note: If you are from non-IT field, you might want to consider exploring the Agile Manifesto Language Update:
Agile manifesto language update
Manifesto for Agile Software Development and I have something in common. Both have born on the same date. Well, I was born on Feb 11, while the Manifesto was coming out from Feb 11 - Feb 13. And of course, I am 2x as old as the Manifesto (1979 and 2001) on Feb 11, 2023. Anyway, when I was 22 it happened and now, when I became 44 (2023), I decided to create a language update version of the Manifesto by refreshing it a bit and updating wording without loosing the essence.
Why this update?
My experience especially in fields outside of software and Information Technology shows that people get a bit frustrated when they see word software in the Manifesto. Besides, explaining the Manifesto's values and principles again pulls them into the world of software and IT. The problem here is that it frightens people and makes it harder for them to understand Agile. Explore the language update below:
And the 12 principles
(1) The highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable/impactful/meaningful/useful software/service/product.
(3) Deliver valuable/impactful/meaningful/useful software/service/product frequently.
(5) Develop/deliver valuable/impactful/meaningful/useful software/service/product with motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them...
(7) Usable/available/working valuable/impactful/meaningful/useful software/service/product is the primary object to measure customer satisfaction/happiness against.
(9) Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
(11) The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
(2) Change is welcome. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.
(4) Customer/stakeholders and those who develop/deliver/produce valuable/impactful/meaningful/useful software/service/product must work together often (preferably daily).
(6) The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a team is face-to-face conversation.
(8) Agile processes promote sustainable development/delivery. The stakeholders, developers, and customers should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely (rhythm).
(10) Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential. (Avoid over-thinking, over-engineering, do MVP, experiments)
(12) At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
So, does it make more sense now? Does it feel closer, more familiar and understandable? I hope it does.
And there is probably another question bubbling up in your heads now: What is Agile Coaching? Assuming you have read all the parts before this one, the definition (my original this time):
In other words, if you'd like doing things differently, for example, like in those two videos above or at least move closer to that, then Agile Coaching is what you need. Usually, provided by an Agile Coach, but can also be done by other roles if relevant expertise is there.
If you need help with Agile, would like to re-invent, re-start or start with Agile, contact me. I have some stuff like special retrospectives about your Agile and your Agile merged with DevOps.