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Loose laces, running faces

Updated: Jul 29, 2022

Would you intentionally run before tying up your shoelaces? And if you chose to, what would happen? You fail, feeling frustrated.

Why then do so many organisation try to run with agile before learning to tie their laces and take a walk first.

As agiles coaches, scrum masters, product owners, development teams and leadership we need to understand the fundamentals of agile values and principles first and foremost. We need to be taught first, through learning and building them into our day to day. Following the teachings step by step through each agile cycle.

I can’t remember how I learnt to tie my shoelaces but it’s ingrained in me now, I don’t think twice about leaving the house without tying them up, and most of the time I’m on autopilot.

Why is this? Repetition of learning over and over again, building the foundation of knowledge.

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As agile teams grow and develop together, we too get to experiment with what works for us! Not by removing rituals and artifacts or forgetting the values and principles that lay the foundations but adapting with the team to work and grow together. Trying out different ways to aid us on our journey. With this we still need agile coaches and scrum masters to coach us into realising when we steer to far from the fundamentals of agile.

As we physically grow, so do our laces. We still rely on people who care for us to buy shoes but they are bigger shoes and different styles. We may start to adopt different ways of tying them, even experimenting with the eyelets, because we know the basic principles and the value that it brings we just need to adapt it now to suit new styles. With this, someone is still guiding and coaching us through the steps, we may not realise that shoes well worn have frayed laces.

A high performing agile team can get fancy. They inspect and adapt their agile mindset being fully immersed in delivering minimal viable products iteration after iteration, they are within; self-organising, self-monitoring and self-correcting team*. Still then, there’s an advisor to support only when needed, when the team asks for help.

Shoelaces undo at the most inconvenient times. Usually in times we have no hands available, or only realising when we trip over them. It is then we ask for advice on tying our laces.

Agile is a journey, learning to tie your laces first to embarc as it is long and treacherous. But, it will bring you valuable stories and experiences that can be used throughout the paths explored.

*Book: Coaching Agile Teams – Written by Lyssa Adkins

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