Nov 24th, 2018

A Seamless Transition To Agile- Are We Finally Over The “Doing” Vs. “Being” Agile Discourse?

Preeth Pandalay
Preeth Pandalay

An executive turned transformation consultant with 21+ years of learning, Preeth trains and coaches... Read more

Lately, there is a lot of discussion on social media around Agile Transformation where changing the mindset is deemed critical, and doing any framework ‘by the book’ is looked at as a purist approach if not termed as doing Agile and shunned.

The trend that seems to be evolving is the notion of ‘Being Agile’ more important than ‘Doing Agile’. Teams and leaders are being misguided to incorporate parts of the framework and touting it as pragmatism.

Let’s take Scrum for example – Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products. It consists of roles, events, artifacts, and the rules that bind them together to achieve that goal.

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Yes, that’s what being Agile looks like!

The premise of the Scrum framework is Empirical Process Control where decisions are made based on observation and experimentation rather than theory or pure logic. Empirical process control leverages the principles of transparency, inspection, and adaptation. Scrum achieves this using three (3) Artifacts for creating transparency, five (5) Events that provide inspection and adapt opportunities, and three (3) roles detailing the Accountabilities and responsibilities designed to optimize flexibility, creativity, and productivity.

The 11 (3+5+3) essentials or non-negotiable aspects of the Scrum framework are the bare essentials for it to function. When teams cherry-pick from the 11 essentials, it renders the empirical approach ineffective.

Imagine somebody suggesting the teams use Kanban but without visualization or limiting the work in progress in the name of pragmatism or incremental improvement.

This misconstrued definition of pragmatism coupled with various biases like of confirmation bias, loss aversion, sunk cost fallacy and the comfort of the status quo makes the laser beam focus on ‘Being Agile’ look like social proof.

Neuroscience indicates that the human brain relies on pattern-matching algorithms that it has developed over a period of time by hard-wiring neural paths. The easiest and the path of least resistance is attempting to create a new neural pathway rather than attempting to change the existing ones.

Quoting Jerry Sternin, author of The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World's Toughest Problems? “It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than think your way into a new way of acting.”

Actions Not Thoughts Start the Difficult Process of Change, So let’s get started, let’s start ‘Doing Agile’ with the intent of ‘Being Agile’.

Preeth Pandalay

An executive turned transformation consultant with 21+ years of learning, Preeth trains and coaches organizations to be agile and more importantly to stay agile. Preeth’s pragmatism finds its root in his diverse experience at various leadership positions.

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