In today’s business climate, agility is key to success. But what exactly is agility? And how can companies make sure they’re promoting an agile mindset within their organization? Unfortunately, many companies mistakenly think of agility as a methodology, when in fact it’s much more than that. As a result, these companies often end up hindering rather than promoting Agility. They end up failing when they should have succeeded. A prime example is CapitalOne’s recent decision to fire many of their employees who were filling agile-specific roles. In this blog post, we’ll explore why thinking of agility as a mere methodology can be detrimental to your company – and your career.

Defining Agility as a Mindset

Agility is not just a methodology, it’s a mindset. This means that companies need to understand that being agile isn’t merely implementing an innovative approach, but also having the right attitude and behavior. For instance, think about quitting smoking or trying to lose weight. Following a certain diet, exercising regularly, and including healthy activities in your daily routine all challenge one’s mental state in addition to requiring discipline and consistency. The same applies to agility: you must look beyond mere methodologies and understand that the change of behavior sets the stage for successful outcomes. That way you can foster behaviors toward agility allowing your organization to remain competitive and successful in the long run.

The Dangers of Defining Agility as a Methodology

Companies that define agile methodology as a means to increase efficiency and still operate with traditional, waterfall project management roles will not truly experience agile values. Instead of being agile from the inside out, agile methods may only be used superficially, without any real internal transformation. Moreover, these companies can expect to have a higher overhead cost due to having to hire personnel solely dedicated to policing themselves to ensure the agile methodology is properly followed. Without understanding that agility is a mindset and not just a methodology, companies such as CapitalOne will fall victim to this outcome. It is important for companies to realize that agile methodologies are meant to help transform workflows in order to become more efficient, not just be another means of control and regulation.

What Happens When Companies Don’t Understand Agility

When companies fail to understand that agility is a way of approaching teams, teams can quickly become stagnant and old behaviors take over. This lack of understanding leads to frustration and confusion in teams, resulting in a loss of productivity. At best, teams will grind along underwhelming their performance potential; at worst entire projects may be scrapped or require significant rework. CapitalOne’s decision to fire many people from agile roles this past year is an extreme example showing just how costly failing to understand the concept of agility can be.

How to Avoid Making the Same Mistake in Your Job

A successful agile team understands that agile is not just a methodology, but a mindset and must be applied to decision-making on all levels. Adopting the agile manifesto as part of your work culture, and actively seeking to learn the values associated with it are essential for avoiding the same mistake. The agile principles will ensure that each decision you make is filtered through those values, giving purpose and structure to your daily tasks. A keen understanding of agile principles will help you employ them strategically in order to stay agile and remain competitive in any job you take on.

Agility is a mindset, not a methodology. Defining it as such is dangerous and can lead to failed “implementations” of agile principles in organizations. This was the case for CapitalOne, who recently fired many people filling agile roles. To avoid making the same mistake in your job, it is crucial to understand what agility really means and how to promote it within your company. Do you have experience with agile “methodology implementations” that have failed? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.