”We are agile”


I’ve heard it several times. But is it true? What qualifies for this statement? I tend to become a bit doubtful when I hear this. Simply because if you really need to say it, there might be doubts whether you are agile or not.

Are you agile?

Maybe you should ask yourself a few key questions:

  • Are there problems to get things out through the door?
  • Do you still need to know and specify all requirements up front?
  • Are you really open to challenge ways of working, even where it hurts?
  • Is it hard to focus on getting things done?
  • Do you have misalignment in the organization on what is most important to get done first?
  • Do you have too much going on at the same time?
  • Are you trusting your people?

Do you need to be agile?

Then we have the other side of the spectrum, when people say “We must be agile”. Why do you want to be agile? And are you really prepared for the changes required to become agile? I believe you really need to think about what you really need to achieve.

Is it moving towards a more lean approach, eliminating waste and focus only on value adding activities? Or is it just “because everyone else is doing it”?  If you really mean business, then you should really evaluate if you are truly prepared to change your mindset. Because that is what it takes.

Challenge the old ways. Break patterns. Embrace decision making as close to the business as possible. Delegate. Eliminate hand overs and centralized decisions. Try to focus. And most important, trust your people. Good people are not hired to be told what to do. Good people are hired to tell you what to do.

Do you have an agile mindset?

Becoming true agile should not be that hard, but it sure can be. It all depends on your mindset. It is about simplicity. It is about passion, about people and trusting people. It is about coaching rather than managing, about having the guts to delegate decision making and about having the guts to focus. Especially in today’s environment where important business critical things are piling up without really getting completed as they should.  And they are all important.

Then it becomes even more important to focus. To avoid misalignment and work piling up seeming taking forever to get completed.

Have the guts to focus on a few things and make sure those things are completed, before you move on to the next ones. If you do, at least a few things will be completed and provide value instead of having a lot of things going on at the same time without getting completed.

Text: Joakim Berg

Author: Tommy Bäckman
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