Why is an Agile Mindset Important for your Agile Project Success?

When you decide to utilize the Agile approach for a project, the success depends more on the Agile mindset than the tools of an Agile approach. The terms, meetings, practices, user stories, and other elements work only if you and the team members are capable of understanding, controlling and managing them.

With an Agile mindset, you and your teams can self-manage every element of a project and maximize the outcomes. But that won’t happen if the team members aren’t really aware of the Agile mindset required for such projects.

Having an Agile Mindset

As many experts say, an Agile mindset holds more importance than the practices and terms utilized in Agile. An Agile mindset is a work culture, which you adopt and accept before implementing one of the Agile methods. If you actually want to gain the value of Agile, the Agile mindset has to become a cultural part of your personality, team members and the whole organization.

An Agile mindset constitutes the values, traditions, personal working habits, and norms. All these factors dictate the Agile mindset of an individual practitioner, teams and a company.

Having an Agile mindset means:

  • Teams embrace the diversity of ideas and different perspectives
  • Failures become opportunities to learn for improvements
  • Individuals and teams enjoy working on the project
  • The pace of work becomes sustainable for everyone
  • Accepting change and adapting fast gets easier for every team member
  • The project plans and status are presented and discussed transparently
  • People feel eager to communicate and collaborate
  • Team members share their expertise freely and willingly

Importance of an Agile Mindset for an Organization

If an organization is ready to utilize Agile methods and practices, the team members need to prepare themselves with an Agile mindset.

While Agile methods and practices include all the elements of this approach, the Agile mindset decides the maximum utilization of these elements. The individuals working on an Agile project needs to have the right personal and professional values to leverage the elements.

Shifting to an Agile Mindset: Challenges and Opportunities

When adopting Agile, the Agile mindset presents challenges along with some great opportunities. It is important to understand both challenges and opportunities to define success and failures objectively.

  1. Challenges of an Agile mindset

Agile is not effective until it is aligned with the right mindset. But, people are people and they can show resistance or fall back to their old habits.

Without the right mindset, the values of team members suffer, which impacts the work culture of the whole organization.

When trying to implement one of the Agile methods, these challenges become the hurdles:

  • People show resistance to shift to new practices and habits.
  • People might fake the acceptance of an Agile Mindset.
  • Change from the previous mindset and the use of the previous methodology can take a long time.
  • People focus too much on artifacts and ceremonies that they forget about the core philosophy.
  • A crisis can bring people back to their old habits.
  1. Opportunities of an Agile mindset

If you and your team can tackle the challenges, great opportunities come along to help your project.

  • A successful manifestation of agile tools, methods and practices.
  • Consistent delivery of value by every individual in a team.
  • Shared ownership and frequent customer engagement.
  • Positive approach towards tackling uncertainty, crisis and failures.
  • Understanding the goals and attaining them through transparent measurement.
  • Team-oriented results and effectiveness with shared responsibilities.

The success of Agile projects depends on an Agile mindset

The true adoption of Agile begins with adopting an Agile mindset. Individuals, teams, and organizations need to dig deep into the mindset of an Agile approach. With this comes the values, principles and multiple practices of Agile. The shift of mindset has to happen at every level of project management. This includes:

  • Senior Management
  • Middle Management
  • Project Managers
  • Product Managers
  • Developers
  • Testers
  • Business Analysts
  • Technical Leads

The cultural adoption of Agile is the first step towards making a project efficient and effective. Hence, every company, team or individual practitioner should focus on the Agile mindset in the first place.

What can you do right away?!

PMO Advisory provides a PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner) certification preparation course. This course will not only prepare you for an Agile certification, it will also support you in enhancing your understanding of an Agile mindset. A PMI-ACP certification will boost your professional development by validating your experience and knowledge of Agile, including what it means to have an Agile mindset.

Related reading, “PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®: How Do I Get Certified?“.  Also, Click here to learn about and register for our PMI-ACP certification preparation course…to become a PMI Certified Agile Professional! 

This article was authored by PMO Advisory Agile Instructor Susan Parente, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, CSPO, PSM I, CISSP, CRISC, PMI-RMP, RESILIA, ITIL, MS Eng. Mgmt.  Susan Parente is a Principal Consultant at S3 Technologies, LLC an Instructor at University of Virginia, and an Adjunct Professor at Post University in CT and Montclair State University in NJ. She is an author, mentor and teacher focused on project and risk management. Her experience is augmented by her Masters in Engineering Management with a focus in Marketing of Technology from George Washington University, DC, along with a number of professional certifications. Ms. Parente has 18+ years’ experience leading software and business development projects in the private and public sectors, including over a decade of experience implementing IT projects for the DoD and Department of Commerce.