“Being Agile” is an approach and not a goal

Agility is an approach, not a goal. Agile has become a common buzzword in industry, as organisations use it to convey responsiveness to clients and adaptability to industry changes. Also, claiming to be Agile has great market value and therefore frequently functions as an objective in and of itself. If your goal is to say that you are Agile, you may be missing the point.

An Agile organisation is like trying to be a happy person.

Happiness is not found by striving for it. It is something that results from positive actions and constructive changes.

An agile organisation benefits from empowered teams that consistently produce the highest business value outputs to meet the most current market needs.

Motivating teams increases employee satisfaction, lowers turnover, and keeps corporate knowledge.

Regular delivery of business value outputs helps an organisation avoid wasting money and time on work that has poor business value.

Current market needs help the organisation better respond to industry changes, unexpected roadblocks, and emergent information.

Agile methods are a powerful toolset that can help you maximise your ongoing investment while also making your organisation more resilient to industry change.

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To begin to be an agile organisation, you have to implement cultural shifts to support adaptive planning, accept change, act on emerging information, value experimentation, and reward teamwork. The approach your company adopts is important, but not nearly as important as fostering an environment that encourages team collaboration.

Employees who scrupulously apply every Agile practise in their daily work aren’t ready to embrace Agile.

An organisation that requires firm deliverables upfront with no room for change in light of new information is equally unprepared.

Your delivery teams will be limited by bureaucratic limitations that undermine the value of Agile methods, and your attempt to become an Agile organisation will fail from the start.


Ensure that your teams understand the principles behind Agile practises and not just the step-by-step instructions.
Training teams without clearly explaining why they are doing something is one of the most common Agile project pitfalls.

If teams understand that adhering to short delivery cycles will lead to greater productivity and fewer lost deliverables, they are less likely to arbitrarily change delivery cycle times from four weeks to eight weeks. Because they haven’t invested a large amount of time, the number of creative and strategic risks they take is greater. In this way, if organisations recognise that stakeholder engagement aids alignment of requirements, better quality outputs, and shorter time to market, they will be less likely to reschedule review meetings, use prototypes (or documents) as substitutes, and promote and embrace stakeholder feedback.

Lastly, recognise that implementing Agile methods does not provide instant results.

Your team needs time to learn, apply, and refine your chosen methods to meet your company’s unique needs.

These are the hallmarks of an Agile organisation: increased productivity, higher quality, greater customer satisfaction, and stronger employee retention. Start by creating a culture where teams feel empowered to use Agile principles in their work, and allow time for the benefits of Agile methods to emerge. And you will, too.

And thus there goes a very popular saying – Mindset Matters Much More Than Practices

Agile is an approach & not a goal

Any organisation that falls into the “Agile works, let’s apply it everywhere” trap has lost sight of their goals. They are also going too fast. When agility functions, it does so because empowered, self-organizing, highly professional teams constantly self-monitor and adapt both their product and work processes. Agile teams need investment of time and money, along with the right people.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agile_software_development

About Srinivas Saripalli 47 Articles
Hi! I'm Srinivas Saripalli. For over eighteen years I've been building high-performing software development teams and organizations through the use of agile and Scrum. I've worked with startups and some of the largest organizations in the world. To find answers to specific questions about Scrum and agile, scaling agile, agile transformation and leadership coaching browse my blog. I am an Executive Leadership Coach handling select clients in the are of Agile & cultural Transformation. I am a Certified Scrum Professional, a seasoned strategist in executions of Coaching Agile Transformations. I am also a SAFe Program Consultant. I have also held positions of process quality consultant in CMMI and ISO doing harmonising process operations for customers, including the implementation of quality programmes in Hi-tech, Retail, Media, and Publishing.

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