It appears that “getting to be human again”* tops the list of intrinsic rewards for working in an Agile way. Putting people at the center instead of the usual – process at the center – enables the creation of platforms for visibility so experts can practice more of what Fast Company columnist Scott Anthony calls “associational thinking,” that is, the ability to make surprising connections. Inviting people to step up onto this platform so their work can be better seen and they can claim a more effective vantage point from which to see the work of others is key to the Agile mindset and workspace. In fact, in the Agile framework the workspace reflects the mindset, and vice versa.
I’ve written before about the concept of unrepeatability, but yesterday in conversation something clicked. Every task to which today’s knowledge workers apply themselves truly is, in essence, unrepeatable. There will never be an exact set of problems like the one you’re facing today. Documenting the story of how you define, approach and tackle this unique set of circumstances, not by checking boxes on a form but by setting up transparency so that the narrative is evident to all stakeholders creates a culture of shared meanings.
The freedom to follow an idea from concept to prototype and then improve upon it in a close-knit group is the natural high of innovation. Access to a tribe of people who either contributed with you to solving commonly-identified problems and/or understands the effort that it took to study and innovate and make an attempt is the trade-off when you give up working in a silo.
The opportunity to create – and partake in – culture as we work is the opportunity to heal from the Industrial Revolution. I see that Agile is, at its core and throughout its DNA, artfully human, and I am glad.
*More on this coming in an interview on Stealth Agile with Devin Hedge of Big Visible Solutions – stay tuned Friday for TGIF!