Being Agile (is not the goal)

Just reacting to a thought that floated around me in a meeting today.  Someone complained that a certain way of doing something “wasn’t very agile”.  That’s not very agile.

I recognize that I have said it myself.  That’s not very agile.  As if…  Agile is the goal.

I have a different word that use to describe what I want to be:  Effective.  I want to be effective.  I want to do things in a way that leads to success.  I want to accomplish more than expected.  I want to delight my customers more often than I disappoint them.  I want the product we deliver to be so freakin’ awesome that I have to add cash registers to handle all the sales.  I want to be so good at delivering new features that my customers just expect goodness to flow out of the team into their lap.

It just so happens that I have found that agile practices often help me to be more effective.  I know that when you are LEARNING that being agile is a goal unto itself.  We have to perform the practices with discipline until we express competence.  Practicing often requires making the means to an end a goal unto itself.

We, as leaders and coaches, need to remember that the reason that we recommend agile practices is that we believe that they will make a team more effective.  As coaches we have to observe the team in their practicing and reflect back when they are not following with appropriate discipline.

But I would recommend that we also teach them that the goal is to increase effectiveness.  That even as they are practicing they should understand why and how the practice and the discipline lead to effectiveness.  So when they lack discipline and we reflect this, we should say, “That’s not going to be very effective.” rather instead of “That’s not very agile.”

 

 

 

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