Agility is more common in our lives than you might think, and it can easily be practiced taking a gradual and empirical angle.
It has been several years that I am flirting with Agility. I had the chance to put this methodology into practice, but also to teach it at several levels: to groups of young beginners in their first work experience, to entrepreneurs in different phases of their career, and to innovation teams or business product development.
Despite the obvious differences between these groups, there is one common idea about Agility: It is a method everyone talks about, hard to understand, but perceived as the magic solution to many business problems.
So, I want to debunk this concept of Agility right away! Even though this methodology has its origins in software development, and it is based on a manifesto with its principles, agility is more common in your life than you might think. To me, being agile seems more like a lifestyle or a problem-solving posture. If you want to better understand this state of mind and be able to include it in your day to day, it is, therefore, necessary that you pay attention to your instincts, because you have been agile for a long time, without knowing it.
Agility is a methodology that applies in complex problem solving. This means situations in which “more is unknown than is known”. Also, this philosophy brings adaptability and transparency when the challenge to be solved is in very dynamic environments.
Does it sound familiar to you? Have you ever experienced a situation where you did not know how to act, but still managed to achieve your goals? If you still have nothing in mind, let me remind you of some examples:
- Learning to walk
- Learning a language.
- Learning to ride a bicycle, a skateboard, a scooter or even a car.
- Playing sports: swimming, skating or even dancing.
- Interpersonal relations: friendship, work colleagues, living with your partner or marriage.
- Raising a child (even if you are already a parent, they are all different!)
What do all these examples have in common? Even if you have heard about the experiences of others or know a little bit about the theory, you really learned when you acted. It is thanks to all your experiences, your trials, and errors that you have acquired more knowledge to improve yourself. Do you now realize how agility is already in your mindset?
The Basics to Put into Practice
While you have realized that you are agile, how do you continue to take ownership of the methodology? Below are four actions to start working on your “agile mindset”:
- Take action! Avoid getting blocked when you do not have “all the information.”
- Be transparent with your team: show and document your ideas, initiatives, and progress. Encourage your team to do the same.
- Inspect your work frequently: take the time to validate if you are on the right track to meet established goals. Always review your product, your team, and your processes.
- Open your mind to change: Use the results of your inspections to identify opportunities for improvement and adapt yourself to implement them right away.
Well, I do not want to create false expectations, practicing agility is not always easy. Our prejudices and behaviours increase the complexity of the scenarios. So, if you are in the process of evaluating the adoption of agility in your business, my recommendation is not to try to follow a framework right away, but to include the basic actions gradually in your day to day. This will give you the confidence and rhythm to start unraveling complexity. In any case, you have always been agile, you just need to remember.