Before Agile Mindset is discussed, it is important to understand what a mindset is. According to Dictionary.com, a mindset is an “attitude with an intention”; Collins English Dictionary mentioned the mindset as “attitudes with which a person approaches a situation, especially when these are seen as being difficult to alter and Online Etymology Dictionary mentioned mindset as “Habits of mind formed by previous experience”. In short, a mindset can be defined as how a person acts, reacts and thinks which is formed by past experiences during a particular environment.
This then leads to an Agile Mindset which is a combination of Cognitive, Personal and Professional, Change and Social. It nurtures from an environment which can be seen, felt and understood as Agile. This can be seen from an individual’s behaviour and attitude when faced with circumstances like stuck in receiving different opinions, ability to listen well, working collectively as a team and having humility when it comes to not knowing all the answers. Most organisations are aware of the advantages of an Agile Mindset but the question lies in how does a company cultivate this mindset for its employees? Forthrightly, it is rather challenging and does not suit all staff due to their previous experiences. If a staff has endured a positive life experience, his/her reactions would be categorised as optimistic and this is vice-versa. Thus, it is incumbent to continuously self-reflect and further improves on previous experiences and judgements. The Agile Mindset adoption in an organisation begins from the pinnacle of the pyramid, the top management (C Suite) having an idea which sets the right tone, culture and behaviour desirable for its staff to follow. This then trickles down to its staff by permitting them to increase knowledge and recognise Agility facts by providing ample skills and examples for them to see, feel and experience. The last stage in the Agile Mindset adoption is to provide a safe environment for staff to collaborate, experiment and expect failure.
In conclusion, having an Agile Mindset is not merely following the framework and mechanics of Scrum and Kanban but adopting a new Mind Set transformation. Be Agile, not just Do Agile!
By Dr Dayana N. H. Chaskar