Archives for the Month of June, 2011

Agile for Life

Class of Kiev June 2011

What does Agile mean to me?

Agile is a means not an end. It’s a means to improve the way we work to the benefit of individuals, teams, organisations and society itself.

Agile paves the way for a great adventure of personal and professional renewal, helping us improve our existing skills and develop new ones.

Agile takes us out of our comfort zones and teaches us how to adapt to change. It enlarges our comfort zones only to take us out of it again. It’s beyond survival. It’s about self-actualisation.

Agile is about being a “forever apprentice“, someone who begins as a student and becomes a teacher while remaining a student. A forever apprentice applies the principle “the best teachers make the best students and the best students make the best teachers”.

Applying Agile

I’ve been applying Agile to what I do for some years now, from delivering projects at work to projects at home. I pack in all the practice I can get. The way I use Agile is constantly changing through improvement experiments. Always learning. Always improving.

Applying Agile and being agile has helped make work fun and engaging. Again. Do you remember the very first day of your very first job? That’s the enthusiasm and energy I strive to re-create every day. For myself and for others. Some days, I give myself a day off.

Every day’s a new day when you’re trying to be better than you were yesterday. I’m improving, one baby step at a time. Sometimes the steps are so tiny that they’re invisible to the naked eye, but I can feel it, like a new shoot about to break through the ground after rain.

I don’t like to admit it, but I know when I’m getting complacent. A little voice in my head tells me, “You’ve been there, done that, seen it all, what’s the big deal?” That’s when I sense trouble. How can I know it all and still be constantly improving? Unless I’ve stopped, of course.

Evolving Agile

When people find out that I’m an Agile Coach (one of my many roles) they tell me, “Of course you want to make everyone do Agile, you’re an Agile Coach and that’s your purpose”. To which I reply, “If we do Agile right, Agile will evolve itself out of existence and something new will appear to take its place.”

As for my purpose, it’s to create opportunities and options to help us make the most of our potential, leveraging what we’ve got and increasing it day by day. I do it for me and for us. Agile is but one tool out of many that makes this possible. It helps to get the conversation started.

What does Agile mean to you?

Animal Farm

Mule for thought

What our experience tells us but we ignore

What do smart people all have in common? We’re driven, focussed and hardworking. Once we have a goal, we go for it, powering through and tugging hard until we gasp, regardless of the obstacles.

“The difference between winners and losers are that winners keep trying,” we mutter to ourselves quietly in the toughest moments. And so we keep striving and straining, cursing the rope that’s holding us back.

Look around you

Now imagine you’re in a meeting. Take a look around you. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? When people come together, it’s usually to formulate a plan to reach a goal. And it’s usually something we’ve in common.

The problem is, we often become blindsided by our “own” goal. We fail to listen with an open mind. We fail to set aside our own viewpoint for long enough to see what’s as plain as the light of day. Not to mention the bale of hay behind us. And all the other bales of hay around us.

By failing to see the bigger picture, we all risk going hungry in spite of being surrounded by a wealth of resources.

See the bigger picture

To make hay while the sun shines, step into each other’s shoes. Then take a step step back together to see the big picture. This way, we can make hay together, come rain or shine.