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 incorporating 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.

Being Agile Looks

Yes, that’s how being Agile looks like!

The premise of 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 Inspect & Adapt opportunity 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 to 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 that of confirmation bias, loss aversion, sunk cost fallacy and the comfort of status quo makes the laser beam focus on ‘Being Agile’ look like a social proof.

Neuroscience indicates that the human brain relies on pattern matching algorithm that it has developed over a period of time by hard wiring the 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 an intent of ‘Being Agile’.

Here is an article from Forbes that details the 4 steps for a smooth transition from waterfall to agile.

Reach out to to help you get started.

Author's Bio

Preeth is a pragmatic coach, Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) & SAFe 5.0 Program Consultant (SPC 5.0) and is passionate about all things agile and leadership. With over 20+ years of experience and commitment, he trains and coach organizations to be agile and more importantly to stay agile. Preeth holds an enviable record of conducting over 10,000 hours of industry-specific training and coaching.