Why you need to ‘do Agile’ to ‘be Agile.’

I keep hearing how you have to “be Agile.” But what does that really mean? How would you know if someone were “being Agile?” You’d probably look to their actions. But then, of course, you’d be looking to see if they were “doing Agile.”

Agile, of course, has more to it than the actions people take. But by separating the being from the doing many Agilists give themselves a built in excuse for their clients’ failure – “well, they were just not being Agile.”

The question is how do we “become” Agile. Agile requires trust and respect. We can’t just acquire these by fiat. We have to earn it by doing. This follows the idea that “it’s easier to work your way into a new way of thinking than think your way into a new way of working.”

It’s ineffective to start by saying “we must trust and respect” each other. Rather, by working together, trust and respect evolves. This is the essence of using Lean to change culture. Recognize that people are good but often are at the effect of a bad system. Change the management system from which culture emanates.

I am a big believer in personal development, but “being” is hard to define unless you say “being Agile is when I see these actions taking place” so then again, we’re back to doing.

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