Agile values Individuals and interactions over processes and tools, yet Scrum, XP, Kanban and SAFe are defined in terms of roles, artefacts and processes (often in the form of events and practices). And when people “just follow the process” blindly they miss the spirit of Agile and risk failing to deliver. But what else are people supposed to do when that’s how the method is defined?
So how, as a leader of an Agile implementation, can you help your people to be at their best?
Saying “empower the team” or “be a servant leader” isn’t enough – Agile is inviting both leaders and their teams to go on challenging journeys of self-development.
People-Centred Agile teaches people how to communicate effectively, to collaborate with others and to go on a journey to create teams and ways of working where people are at their very best.
Business needs are people needs
People-centred Agile is firmly targeted at creating business success. It’s core principle is that all aspects of business are interactions between people who are trying to get their needs met.
Think how effective your business would be if your people could rapidly understand the needs of your customers, your stakeholders and your business clients, precisely and effectively communicate with them and focus all of their talent and skills with great motivation on meeting those needs. That is the business proposition for People-Centred Agile.
“The key elements in the art of working together are how to deal with change, how to deal with conflict, and how to reach our potential…the needs of the team are best met when we meet the needs of individual persons.”
As an individual
I know how to recognise when I’m at my best
I know how to get to my best and what stops me
I know what an ideal team for me is like
I know what an ideal organisation for me is like
As a team
We’re dedicated to a clear business purpose
We know how each other works at their best
We support each other to each work at our best
We’ve created a team that works for us all
We act to create an organisation that works for us all
As an individual
I know how I make decisions
I know how I am when I start to lose my temper
I know how I learn at my best
As a team
We manage our time effectively
We make decisions effectively
We harness conflict to improve what we do
We actively learn and improve
Unlock the potential in your people
“Real teams don’t emerge unless individuals on them take risks involving conflict, trust, interdependence and hard work.”
Katzenbach & Smith
By developing self-awareness, they are able to express their needs and values, to have flexibility in their behaviour and to co-create ways of working that put them and others at their very best.
People-Centred Agile teaches powerful questions to uncover information and resolve ambiguities; and it teaches people how to use specific language (examples, sensory language, data) and metaphoric language to express themselves more effectively.
People are wonderfully unique and idiosyncratic. We can stop for a moment to place our own opinions and judgements to one side and inquire with sincere curiosity into other people’s worlds. When we do, not only do we create strong relationships, we gain the understanding to create ways of working together at our very best.
Co-Creating a Vision
When individuals have self awareness and can curiously inquire into each other’s worlds, they can create a vision that truly inspires them. It could be a vision for the company, for a product, for a customer experience, or for how the team will work. And when people share a vision they created themselves, that satisfies their values and delivers their needs, the motivation to deliver on that vision is incredible.
Planning involves thinking of solutions to meet some needs of some people; doing involves taking action to make progress on those solutions; measuring involves actively seeking data and feedback on whether the solutions are meeting people’s needs and reflecting is improving understanding, solutions and self-awareness to do better during the next loop.
People are invited to create these loops at different timescales: hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly loops can all be useful.