Being agile in the new normal

The New Normal has compelled the need to adopt and practice new ways of working which foster agile or growth mindset for maintaining the momentum and achieving improved outcomes.

The current pandemic has not only changed the way how projects are managed, teams collaborate, business success criteria are defined; but also, the way how people approach the problems and find solutions.
Illustrated rocket and other symbols to which a hand is pointing.
The flexibility, nimbleness, experimentation, adaptability, and resiliency have never been so prevalent before as it is today – along with focus on learning, continuous improvement and leaving the comfort zone to strive towards growth zone. The continuous and shorter feedback loop in agile way of working allows you to quickly inspect and adapt as per the changing circumstances and also to reduce the risk. It is also very important to have stability along with agility to attain sustainability. The feedback loop allows you to continuously ideate, build, measure, learn and repeat the steps if the outcomes are favourable or change the approach if outcomes are otherwise.
It is also very important to bring the agility at the individual or personal level so that truly agile teams can be formed.  You will need to understand the difference between what really matters the most and build the ability to distinguish between an important and an urgent task. At the same time, make S.M.A.R.T. goals that you want to accomplish. Also, build the ability to plan, prioritise and prepare for it. You should also identify the important and not so important tasks which can be avoided or eliminated so that focus is there on the right tasks which can be delivered at the right time.

Following are the attributes of an agile mindset

  1. Empowered Teams: Teams are empowered to take decisions and try different approaches to deliver the best results with continuous support and feedback. Empowering your teams will also help in creating a sense of ownership and accountability.
  2. Iterative and incremental: Deliver in shorter cycles with measurable business value iteratively and incrementally by splitting bigger epics, features into smaller user stories and tasks at a regular interval.
  3. Transparency: Transparency is the foundation of any relationship including the interactions between the teams and with other stakeholders. As one of the important pillars of Scrum framework, transparency allows trust to prevail between working and personal relationships. For example, transparency promoted in reporting progress and challenges with risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies (RAID).
  4. Collaborative: Collaboration is not only about group of people working in a project; but it is about working together, self-organising, helping and communicating with each other to move forward with a shared goal and a common organisational objective.
  5. Empirical: Evaluating performance based on the past data and measuring progress based on the evidence and on observations of reality. Empiricism lets you experiment, learn, and adapt.
  6. Adaptive: Adaptive mindset is about changing direction when required and stopping if any approach is not giving expected results. It allows you to constantly look for better ways of doing things for continuously improving the outcomes and builds the ability to adapt based on the results of the inspection.
  7. Sustainable: The approach and the ways of working which are maintainable so that consistency can be created within the teams and uncertainty can be embraced. This is aligned with the eighth principle of agile where it promotes sustainable development.

The benefits of an Agile Mindset are multi-faceted

  1. Cadence: It provides a rhythm in the delivery and creating value for the customer.
  2. Quick shifts: Changing direction when needed including deprioritising the ongoing work.
  3. Deconstructs the work: Making the bigger tasks smaller so that they can be accomplished through critical analysis to make them meaningful and usable. 
  4. Time-boxed: Brings an element of discipline by planning the deliveries and releases continuously.
  5. Inspection and adaptation: Continuous evaluation and adjustment during the iteration. For example: inspecting progress towards Sprint Goal in Daily Scrum and adapting Sprint Backlog and Daily Plan.
  6. Retrospect and learn: To identify and assess the performance along with actionable improvements so that success can be repeated, and learnings can be shared. 


Agile is a journey and not a destination to move in the right direction, building the ability to quickly change the direction when needed, using ambiguity to find opportunity for effectively managing the projects and influencing your teams to collaborate and build high-quality products and services.
You can also view a recent webinar recording on this topic organised by Just Happened - A Community Building Platform here: 
About the author: Gaurav Dhooper is our Senior Official for Metropolitan area of Noida, India. Gaurav is a strategic thinker, a professional Agile and IT Delivery Leader, an author and a speaker. Gaurav writes articles on Digital Transformation, Agile Transformation, Agile Project Management and Scrum. He also publishes articles on Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Personal Agility in leading online publications. Gaurav has been reviewer for PMI’s Standard for Earned Value Management and for a book on Agile Contracts. He is also a webinar and keynote speaker in various global conferences and Reviewing Committee Member in PMO Global Awards 2020. Gaurav is also holding the honorary position of Digital Media Global Director at PMO Global Alliance

Keywords: Agile project Management, Digital Mindset, Scrum, Kanban

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