5 Things You Should Know About Agile

Five Things You Should Know About Agile

I was first introduced to Agile just before I left IBM to join HSBC in 2006. I took no notice of it then because to it was IT way of justifying their existence and the cost of their production. Eighteen months ago, a client asked me what I thought about Agile as he was thinking to introduce to a company where he would be appointed as CEO. He wanted me to help him position Agile to bring the company to a new level of performance. Before I agreed to take on the assignment, I shared with him these five things about Agile.

  1. Agile has been tried beyond software development. The Agile values without the word software development are universal values that sets the mindset for a nimbler way of working. The Agile are: (a) that human interaction is more important than processes and tools because an organization comprises people and without human interactions it is a dead organization; (b) get the job done and do away with having to document every conversation or agreement; (c) promote collaboration with internal and external customers and (d) plans should not stand in the way of collaboration – be flexible if necessary.
  2. Agile values should liberate the people from the clutches of bureaucracy and could oil rather than replace an organization. Respect that bureaucracy has its place. Organizations have become more bureaucratic for various reasons, such as managers furthering their personal interest. Bureaucracy came into existence because it “is an instrument of great effectiveness; it offers great economies over unorganized effort; it achieves great unity and compliance.” (Katz and Kahn, 1996) Agile cannot replace bureaucratic organizations but should be experimented to see how the organization can be nimbler rather than blindly say the organization is an agile organization.
  3. Agile need not be employed under a particular framework or for project management, such as SCRUM, a project management framework that promotes for more effective collaborations among teams working on complex projects. It can be employed in all situations to enhance human interaction. In fact, the values of frameworks such as SCRUM are based on basic human values namely, commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect. These are simple courtesies that promote psychological safety and enhances human interactions.
  4. Agile can improve employee engagement because it engages employees at the team levels. The most important experience of work is the experience of team because it is in teams that people find their sense of community. (Buckingham and Goodall, 2019)
  5. Agile is a journey. Organizations like Spotify have embraced its philosophy and clothed it differently from other organizations. In essence its Agile but how it is practiced can differ from organization to organization. The organization’s identity is not lost but is evolving, simply because organizations are living organisms. Like all journeys people take, there will be ups and downs, unexpected blind corners and even sometimes starting all over again. More important the people on this journey must work to be community.

Happy to have a chat with you about Agile at [email protected]

About the Author


I am currently director and principal trainer in ITOL Asia. My mission is to promote training and occupational learning. I believe that training can be deployed more effectively as an organizational transformational tool. I also believe that through occupational learning everyone is a trainer because everyone has unique experiences, knowledge and skills that enable them to train others differently.

I hold a BA, MBA and doctorate in transformational leadership. I am trained in positive psychology and qualified in ACTA. My approach to training is to equip learners use transformational tools to enable them to make their training more holistic. I employ a variety of tools in the training to fit the needs of the learners. These tools include, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Gallup Strength Finder and Business Profiling, VIA Character Strength, LEGO Serious Play, The Organizational Zoo, Action Learning, DISC and Points of You.