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Want to Achieve Lasting Agility?

It Starts with You -- It's Time to Look in the Mirror!

2 May 2014

Brian M. Rabon, CST, PMP
The Braintrust Consulting Group

Have you been trying to implement Agile unsuccessfully? Are you able to adopt the mechanics of the process, but you seem to be struggling with the culture? Are you looking for ways to make Agile survive and even thrive in your organization without your constant attention?

Many people believe that it takes a top-down approach to change corporate culture in order to successfully implement Agile methods. What if they are wrong? What if top-down isn't the way to go? Could there be another way to achieve lasting agility?

According to, corporate culture is "the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature." Additionally, the first value statement of the Agile Manifesto ( is "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools." Perhaps achieving organizational agility starts with looking at our own personal values, those that define our nature. Are we behaving in an Agile way?

If you are looking to successfully implement Agile, it is time to do a bit of introspection. To quote the late Michael Jackson, "I am starting with the man in the mirror, I am asking him to change his ways, and no message could have been any clearer, if you want to make the world a better place, then take a look at yourself and make a change." If you become more Agile, others will want to become more Agile too, and in the end your organization's Agile adoption will take off.

So what does it mean to become more Agile? Personal agility is all about living the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. Translating the manifesto to our personal lives results in seven facets that we need to master:
  1. Looking inward -- Conduct internal retrospectives to fuel our personal growth
  2. Clear vision -- Dynamically plan our path in life
  3. Taking smart risks -- Action is the path forward; we must not be afraid of failing
  4. Entrepreneurial spirit -- Perform small experiments and pivot when necessary
  5. Meaningful relationships -- We need others to complement our strengths
  6. Situational leadership -- Lead most of the time; follow when needed
  7. Life as flow -- Maximize our ability to get things done
When we become skilled at living the seven facets, then we will have achieved personal agility. We will be living the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. Others within our organization will notice that we have adopted more than just the mechanics of Agile, and they will be influenced by our behavior as well. This snowball effect will translate into a successful adoption of an Agile culture. After all, if we have a group of people with personal agility working together regularly, then how can we avoid having an Agile corporate culture?

Want to successfully adopt an Agile culture? Time to look in the mirror -- time to achieve personal agility!

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 3.9 (7 ratings)


Brian M. Rabon, CST, PMP, CST,CALE,CSP,CSD,CSM,CSPO,REP, 5/3/2014 12:33:26 AM
If you would like more info on applying the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto to your life then here are 2 great resources:

Home of Personal Agility

Live Agile LinkedIn Group

Recent topics include; improving your marriage by making your spouse your Product Owner, making bedtime fun for your kids by using a personal Kanban, and much more!
Scotty Kilbourne, CSP,CSD,CSM,CSPO,REP, 5/3/2014 8:59:14 AM
Great article. For years I have taught that significant change starts at home. We cannot force others to change but can have significant influence on them as they see the results we achieve through our personal growth. Good Idea!
Jai Singhal, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 5/3/2014 9:01:08 PM
Great article Brian!

Life is a journey. When trying to improve the world, it starts from home. As the saying goes, charity begins at home. We have been playing agile games at home and family loves it. Imagination soars and sky's the limit.

Thanks for sharing the resources and great ideas.

Agility begins at home!
Krishnakumar Chinnappachari, CSD,CSM,CSPO, 5/14/2014 7:07:46 AM
Great article Brian, thanks for sharing

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