Doing Agile? Being Agile? Take your pick I’ve heard both arguments. I’ve talked to companies who ‘do Agile’. When I consider where these companies come from they’ve made good progress in advancing their results. Then there’s the companies who ‘be Agile’ and they too have made good progress. I would propose neither of these places are the right place to be starting. Regardless of the methodology you use I see people as core to any successful transformation.

If you haven’t noticed in past posts I am studying the Leadership Gift with Christopher Avery. The Gift is our ability to see where we’ve landed in the Responsibility process when things happen. When I put the Responsibility process beside the Agile Manifesto, I can’t imagine being as effective in subscribing to the manifesto without having responsibility present.

If you’re not familiar with the Responsibility Process it explains a part of how we’re wired. When something goes wrong it is natural for all of us to go through this process. It starts with laying blame and as I’m able to see where I’m sitting I can move through justifying, shame and obligation. Responsibility is that place where I’m free, powerful and at choice with the world around me. Responsibility is where great things happen.

With this process in mind I have been looking at the Agile Manifesto:

  • “Individuals and Interactions over process and tools” — I’ve seen too many cases where process and tools are implemented because people are not acting responsibly. Implementing more process can be a little like putting a bandaid over a festering wound. If Individuals and interactions are more important, then I would propose people is the starting point.
  • “Customer collaboration over contract negotiations” — To succeed at placing the focus on collaboration over contracts, it means when things go wrong we cannot be blaming each other. Instead we need to work together with responsibility to deliver value.
  • “Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage” — When a customer asks for something different it’s a sign they’ve learned something. How does your team respond to this? Do they blame the customer for changing their mind? Do they justify why they’ve gone over budget by pointing to the change? What if the team spent their time figuring out how deliver the change and still meet project objectives?

Don’t get me wrong. Being responsible will not suddenly make Agile easy. But being responsible will make the journey a little bit easier!

If you want to learn more about the Leadership Gift check out Christopher’s upcoming free preview on either October 22 & 24.  The cool part is if you use my VIP code “Mikee” you will get a $100 discount if you sign up!

Building Great Teams

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