What is this “Agile Mindset” anyway?

Examples for an agile mindset

Examples for an agile mindset

UPDATE 2013: There’s a condensed, infographic-y version here

If you’re new to the agile world, what are behaviors to look for? In the chart you find examples of what I deem “agile” and “not quite so agile” behavior.

These are, of course, completely subjective! Also I think there are rather too many scales. What would you change? Which are superfluous?

PS: Be sure to also watch Linda Rising’s keynote on this topic. She concentrates on the “success through effort” vs. “fixed” aspect.

PPS: Here’s the document on Google, if you want to export it.

Update: See this article by Johanna Rothmann for some questions you can ask during a job interview to check for a Lean mindset (via Matthias Bohlen).

8 Comments What is this “Agile Mindset” anyway?

  1. Corinna

    Hi Matthias! The PNGs background was transparent. At some point wordpress.com must have switched from showing the image file on a new page (white bg) to a lightbox with dark bg. It’s fixed now. Thanks for the hint!

  2. Khurshid Akbar

    Thanks Corinna for the graphical presentation of Agile mindset, I was looking for easy to explain diagram in point within my presentation on Agile where I was trying to show difference between adoption and transformation.

  3. Nancy Van Schooenderwoert

    Hi Corinna – This is a really helpful chart, especially for those new to Agile. You’ve said that you want to show fewer scales, and want to know which cold be eliminated. I can think of others to add! For instance – dealing with suppliers, and business partners (e.g. in a joint venture), or approaches to use in regulated industries…

    But simplicity is needed, not more complexity! Thinking about it a little more, how about a chart with only the scales that cover the earliest questions people ask? I’d nominate the initial 4 scales plus the one on documentation. After that, there’s a ‘next wave’ of topics that quickly follow and your other scales seem right for that.

    As learning progresses, people’s questions become more related to their roles. So you could create some sets of scales that speak to certain roles. For instance:
    “When your product involves hardware, you…”
    Chaos: “Just re-spin the chip/ board/ etc. (wrecking the budget)”
    More Agile: “Use set-based design and options thinking”
    Traditional: “Stay with waterfall, long stage gates”
    Just Bad: “Rule out all Agile methods”

    “When your product depends on key subsystems from small suppliers, you…”
    More Agile: “Investigate Agile contracts and Chartering”
    Traditional: “Use your greater clout to make them carry most of the risks”
    Just Bad: “Decree that all contracts will be fixed-price, fixed-scope”

    I have a feeling that sets of scales leading down different paths can offer a way to discover topics that the person wouldn’t know that they should be asking about. When approaching a big subject like “Agile” as a newbie, you don’t know what you don’t know! – Nancy Van Schooenderwoert @vanschoo

    1. Corinna

      Nancy, thank you for this thoughtful comment! I like your idea of splitting it up. In fact I’ve been thinking about creating a nice looking poster out of this and the “basic” set of scales sounds like a great starting point! I’ll keep you posted 🙂

      1. nancyvanschoeenderwoert

        Hi Corinna,
        I’d be glad to help expand the chart by offering more content along the areas I know best – Agile hardware, Medical regulated development, Agile Contracts… The visual format and gradation of categories makes this chart a fun way to discover key Agile concepts.

        – Nancy Van Schooenderwoert @vanschoo

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