Why Being Agile Is So Infernally Hard?

I had the opportunity to visit Slush this year. The energy, passion, innovation, and potential to make a meaningful impact are some of the most inspiring aspects of being with start-up entrepreneurs. Super big thanks to talks to Steerpath, Audicin, Vacuumwood.Tech and EEX, for supercharging me for the coming winter!

The Jedi Skillset

For me, these start-uppers are the prototypes of agility. They share the focus on agility, speed, iterative approaches, and risk-taking. Embracing an agile mindset is essential for start-up entrepreneurs to navigate the unpredictable and ever-changing business landscape.
Not everyone wants, can, or should be an entrepreneur, but everyone working in an agile operating model should know and learn how to be agile. But why is it so bloody hard to be agile? And why doing agile is considered ok?

WTF do you mean by being agile?

Being agile is a matter of mindset. Something you have learned or got from DNA. The agile mindset shifts the focus from rigid plans and processes to flexibility, feedback, and iteration. It emphasizes valuing individuals and interactions over wooden structures, embracing change as a competitive advantage, promoting collaboration and self-organization, and continuously seeking opportunities for learning and improvement and thinking not only about what you have on your plate but also about taking a bigger picture to see what your work has dependencies.

Rebels with a Cause

Being agile requires rebellion, willingness to challenge traditional ways of working, embracing change and experimentation, and prioritizing delivering value to customers (internal or external). It fosters a culture of trust, transparency, empowerment, ownership and ability, and boldness to make decisions.

Agile vs. Fragile

It is easy to settle for “doing agile” because it is often a straightforward and achievable goal. Organizations may mistakenly believe that by implementing Agile’s prescribed practices and processes, they are automatically being agile. This approach can give the illusion of agility without genuinely embracing the underlying mindset and principles.

Agile Transformation: Like Gymnastics, But with Less Spandex

Shifting to an agile mindset in a corporate environment can be challenging due to cultural preferences for stability, hierarchical structures, and resistance to change. Siloed departments and processes usually hinder collaboration and adaptability. Overcoming these barriers won’t happen overnight and requires a conscious effort from the whole company. Bureaucratic processes and risk-averse cultures must be addressed to enable quick decision-making and experimentation.

Despite these challenges, being agile in a corporation is not impossible. Even if it requires perseverance, influencing skills, and commitment, I hope you continue advocating for an agile mindset. So don’t lose your hope, and don’t stop!