Andrew Carnegie once said,
Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.
His observation is spot on, and yet, when discussing Agile Software Development, we find ourselves focused on frameworks instead of people and connections.
Over the past 15 years, Dan Tousignant and Todd Kamens, two Agile thought leaders, have collaborated on numerous projects. Leveraging Traditional Project Management, Scrum, Lean and Kanban techniques to manage software projects they have now joined to share their thoughts.
Working together on and off over the years, Dan and Todd have discussed many issues with clients’ different implementations of Agile, and with each conversation, a pattern started to emerge. It wasn’t clear at first, but they started to see how Agile’s success was more about the people and values than the prescribed process and framework. Dan and Todd started to see how Agile was becoming a practice that was unique to each company and involved people and connections in making it succeed.
Interestingly, when Dan and Todd saw these connections in the workplace, they had both started to practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness seems to be the new buzzword these days for the stressed out corporate executive, those going through a midlife crisis or those that are just searching for more meaning out of their day. Though it is a new term, it is not a new concept and has existed for thousands of years.
We are not attempting to teach Mindfulness in this article, however, it is important to understand it at it’s core as defined by Jon Kabat-Zin as follows,
Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, in the present, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of the experience moment by moment.
In their conversations about Agile and Mindfulness, the patterns became clear as they started to see how Mindfulness aligned with the core values of Agile.
|Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools||Mindfulness teaches us to be open to novelty, sensitive to different contexts and to be aware of multiple perspectives.|
|Working software over comprehensive documentation||Mindfulness teaches us to accept change, to appreciate other viewpoints and to be able to focus on the present.|
|Customer collaboration over contract negotiation||Mindfulness teaches us an awareness of multiple perspectives and listening to hear versus listening to reply.|
|Responding to change over following a plan||Mindfulness teaches us to cherish trust, expertise and direct communication.|
In summary, Agile 2.0 moves us beyond Frameworks and instead, focuses on people and connections. We observe how the individual, the team and the organization work together to achieve amazing results. We pay attention to one another, non-judgmentally, and work together to achieve great value for our customers.
Over the course of several collaborative articles, Dan and Todd will convey their vision of Agile 2.0 and explain how leveraging Mindfulness practices with your Agile software development adoption can create better people, teams and companies capable of achieving greatness.
President, Cape Project Management, Inc.
President, Guidance Technology, Inc