Agile Mindset in a Nutshell
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Agile Mindset in a Nutshell

interview with Samuel Calan, Head Web Frontend, Raiffeisen Switzerland
interview with Samuel Calan, Head Web Frontend, Raiffeisen Switzerland

interview with Samuel Calan, Head Web Frontend, Raiffeisen Switzerland

Agile has become the buzzword of the last decade. Nowadays a many business transformations strive for Agility among other topics. What’s the motivation behind being agile? Is it mission-critical? Statistically and historically it is probably the answer why certain companies didn’t survive or suffer that much. Whatever cliché Agile has now - being adjustable and flexible to meet growing needs is certainly the answer to most business challenges.

Agile is not only about the methodology or framework such as Scrum, Kanban, and Lean. Agile is about values and principles first - having the right mindset. Having an agile mindset results in customer/employeecentered, purpose-driven behaviour. It is the behavior that many of us longing for to find in ourselves and the employees.

But what is an agile mindset?

One could read good books over books about it. From the scrum guide, these five values have been defined: courage, focus, commitment, respect, and openness. After taking many agile courses I tried to sum it up in a practical way, believing the underlying fundamental of all these values and principles is: Humble Listening - and this kind of listening isn’t easy. It has to be developed since it contradicts our nature, especially for managers who empirically learned the stuff in a world that was revolutionized already through industrialization. The world evolved and got some more dimensions which is today called a VUCA world (acronym).

 From a perspective of a leader, it’s carefully listening to employees and have true interest in them. It’s about building an atmosphere of trust and psychological safety, in which everybody can express his thoughts and opinions without becoming ridiculed

Many times I observed how a manager’s decision was put first, even though the customer needs were crystal clear and had greater severity. Having an agile mindset means I put myself and my opinion behind and focus on my counterpart. From a perspective of a leader, it’s carefully listening to employees and have true interest in them. It’s about building an atmosphere of trust and psychological safety, in which everybody can express his thoughts and opinions without becoming ridiculed. When was the last time you valued an employee by listening carefully to his needs and thoughts?

How can an agile mindset get adopted and find ground within an organization?

Without any concerns, agile training is important and useful. Before that, the upper management should have a clear need and desire to become more agile. What’s the purpose of being agile and why should we strive for it? Do we want to react appropriately to actual boundaries and customer feedback? Why not undertaking agile leadership training for the upper management first and get challenged in oneself beliefs? It’s important to have a top-down and bottom-up approach to become agile.

After partaking in training it’s a good practice to have agile coaches who lead the team and correct paths which are pointing back into the old way of thinking.

By having an agile mindset and enabling teams for doing agile methodologies, establishing agile roles within a company, one great chance for a leader to improve even more is to trust the team and let them decide in their area of responsibility. And then, let the team grow and optimize! Being a scrum master for several years now allowed me to see the effectiveness of retrospective meetings at which a team can continuously improve and influence the organization - probably the most important ceremony an agile framework provides.

This article is a short expression of a Scrum Master and group leader who gained experiences on his professional path to transform teams and organizations and still has to learn about the above-mentioned topics.

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