Skip to content

The foundation of Agile

Agile is very often misunderstood. People tend to jump to the frameworks, to renaming existing roles and calculating how much time and money must be saved. While, in reality, the one thing which will truly guarantee transformation and sustainable business agility, is the right mindset: the Agile mindset.


What is an Agile mindset? Agile is often explained as “being able to respond (or adapt) to change”. But when you have an Agile mindset, I’m convinced that the explanation should be “being able to drive change”. An Agile mindset transforms people and organizations from a passive stance to an active stance. This means that instead of waiting till something happens, you (pro)actively look for things that can be improved. A mindset isn’t something you turn off or on, it’s a way of looking at the world which is highly influenced by your personal values. Having an Agile mindset means waking up in the morning and believing that all that you know might be proven to be wrong. It means that everything you do, can be done better and that it takes just a second to change everything. 

An Agile mindset is a growth mindset, wherein learning is key. Failure doesn’t exist. Leading and working with this mindset offers you the freedom of ‘not knowing’, of ‘not getting it right’ and of starting to share ideas and opinions to get new perspectives on things. It’s the premise for open collaboration in teams, between teams, between business and technology, and even between competing companies.

Culture and values    

The Agile mindset also makes a new culture emerge. Again, culture isn’t something you can turn on and off. It’s part of each thing you do and are. The foundation of an open culture is psychological safety. It’s creating a space in which people feel trusted, respected and safe to be who they are, to say what they think and to challenge common beliefs. Only within this fearless environment, people can really learn, collaborate, grow and even innovate.

If you look at the values of the Scrum framework (courage, focus, commitment, respect and openness), it’s clear that they can only be honored if people feel safe. Psychological safety is the base of the Maslow pyramid to guarantee happy people and to build high performing teams. 

Culture also supports a shared vision and intrinsic motivation because it’s built on company values. The culture therefore resonates with the personal values of the people who work there. Ideally, those values also reflect what the company offers to its customers and how they interact with them. If these values are consequently lived within the company, people will feel connected. They will have a sense of purpose and belonging which will fuel their motivation and dedication to the company. The Agile mindset, values and principles all support this fearless, collaborative, innovative and self-managing culture. When an organization as such adopts Agile frameworks to enable teams to focus on delivering value in the most effective way – that’s when Agile pays off. That’s when you become the sustainable, innovative, leading company you desire to be. The secret at that point is: you’re not doing it alone anymore. Every employee, partner and customer is dedicated to each other and to realizing the company’s vision. That is the difference between merely adopting a framework and really transforming who you are.

Want to know more about Devoteam’s Agile approach? Visit our Business Agility Transformation page.