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Doing Agile Vs Being Agile: A Comprehensive Guide

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By Author: Sanaya
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Doing Agile vs. Being Agile

Doing Agile:

"Doing Agile" refers to the implementation of Agile practices and processes. It involves following specific methodologies and frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, or XP. While this is important, it often focuses more on the mechanical aspects of Agile rather than the underlying principles.

Characteristics of Doing Agile:

Following Frameworks: Strictly adhering to Scrum ceremonies (e.g., daily stand-ups, sprint planning, retrospectives), Kanban boards, etc.

Using Agile Tools: Utilizing Agile project management tools like Jira, Trello, or Asana.

Adopting Agile Artifacts: Creating user stories, backlogs, and burndown charts.

Focusing on Processes: Emphasizing the steps and procedures defined by Agile methodologies.

Benefits of Doing Agile:

Structured Workflow: Provides a clear structure for teams to follow.

Improved Visibility: Enhances tracking and reporting of progress.

Initial Process Improvement: Often leads to improvements in efficiency and delivery speed.

Limitations of Doing Agile:

Superficial Adoption: ...
... Risk of adhering to processes without understanding the principles.

Limited Adaptability: Can become rigid if the focus is only on processes.

Lack of Cultural Change: May not foster a true Agile culture.

Being Agile:

"Being Agile" involves internalizing and embodying the core values and principles of Agile in the organization's culture. It’s about a mindset that prioritizes flexibility, collaboration, continuous improvement, and customer-centricity.

Characteristics of Being Agile:

Embracing Agile Values: Adopting the values and principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto.

Cultural Shift: Fostering an environment of trust, empowerment, and collaboration.

Adaptive and Flexible: Responding to change over following a fixed plan.

Continuous Improvement: Regularly reflecting and improving processes and practices.

Benefits of Being Agile:

Higher Adaptability: Better equipped to respond to changing market conditions and customer needs.

Enhanced Collaboration: Fosters better teamwork and communication.

Sustainable Change: Creates a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

Greater Employee Satisfaction: Empowers teams and increases job satisfaction.

Challenges of Being Agile:

Cultural Resistance: Requires significant cultural change and buy-in from all levels.

Ongoing Commitment: Needs continuous effort and reinforcement of Agile principles.

Leadership Support: Strong leadership commitment to Agile values is essential.

Steps to Transition from Doing Agile to Being Agile

Understand the Agile Principles:

Familiarize yourself and your team with the Agile Manifesto and its 12 principles. Focus on understanding why Agile practices exist, not just how they are done.

Cultivate an Agile Mindset:

Encourage a mindset that values collaboration, flexibility, and continuous improvement. Promote open communication and trust within the team.

Leadership and Cultural Change:

Leadership must lead by example, embodying Agile principles and fostering an environment that supports Agile values. Empower teams to make decisions and take ownership.

Focus on People and Interactions:

Prioritize people over processes. Facilitate team interactions and collaborations. Use processes and tools as enablers, not as ends in themselves.

Customer Collaboration:

Engage with customers and stakeholders regularly to understand their needs and get feedback. Incorporate this feedback into the development process continuously.

Embrace Continuous Improvement:

Regularly hold retrospectives and reflection sessions to identify areas for improvement. Act on these insights to refine processes and practices.

Encourage Experimentation and Innovation:

Allow teams to experiment with new ideas and approaches. Encourage a culture where failure is seen as a learning opportunity.

Provide Training and Support:

Invest in training and resources to help teams understand and adopt Agile practices effectively. Provide coaching and mentoring to reinforce Agile principles.

Measure Outcomes, Not Outputs:

Focus on the value delivered to customers rather than just the completion of tasks. Measure success by outcomes such as customer satisfaction, team morale, and business impact.

Align Organizational Structure:

Ensure that the organizational structure supports Agile principles. This may involve flattening hierarchies, creating cross-functional teams, and reducing bureaucratic obstacles.


Transitioning from "Doing Agile" to "Being Agile" is a journey that requires commitment and effort at all levels of the organization. It’s about internalizing Agile values and creating a culture that naturally aligns with Agile principles. By focusing on mindset and cultural change, organizations can unlock the true potential of Agile, leading to greater adaptability, innovation, and customer satisfaction.

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