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When I First Met Agile...

Going Beyond the Agile Butterflies

When I first met Agile a few years ago, it was love at first sight. It felt like we were totally made for each other. But now that we’ve been together for a while, our relationship has become a lot more complicated. Our different environments interfere, and there are some pretty big expectations. The challenges we face together seem to keep growing and we've formed some habits and routines that I doubt add any value. Our love was so much easier in the beginning, back when we only felt butterflies...

Maybe, like me, Agile stole your heart too, and so you also relate to this journey. How do we go from love at first sight to creating a long-lasting relationship with Agile? Sometimes I almost forget why we fell in love in the first place. But remembering why our love first emerged and holding onto it tight gives me the strength to keep fighting for it. Does it feel like that for you, too? If so, then I say trust your gut feelings and stick with it. Agile’s undoubtedly worth it; you just need to determine what’s NXT between you.

Like all love, Agile love changes over time. That’s okay. Don’t look back with longing for the past, instead look ahead and long for what it can become. What can you do to make your love blossom (again) or even just get a little bit better? What are the qualities you want to hold on to, and what do you want to let go, or improve?  If you know in your heart that it’s true love, fight for it every step of the way. Start by deciding now what your first, Agile NXT step will be.

Here at Xebia, that’s what we do for our clients every day - fight to make sure the heart of their
company beats in tune with the Agile way. We’re here to ensure that your relationship with Agile keeps working, and we’ll stay by your side all the way. Heck, we’ll even walk you down the aisle at your Agile wedding. That’s how much we believe in Agile and trust that it’s a good match for you.

Daphne Henning Agile

This article is published in AGILE NXT. Agile NXT is a new magazine full of inspiration for professionals on the emerging Agile journey. It challenges you to think differently and improve yourself, your team, and company a little more each day. 

We have a pretty long history as Agile “matchmakers” too - as we were the first in the Netherlands to do it. Like a one-eyed king of the land of the blind, we inspired other companies to start their journey to agility and supported their relationships every step of the way. We’ve paved the way as mentors and partners because we know Agile by heart. Eventually, more and more companies fell in love with Agile, and that number continues to grow. 

As the Agile journey emerges, we too have matured and learned together. Some of our early-day Agilists have even turned grey, but they still bubble with Agile puppy love. And why not? Agility, is, at its core, playful. It calls for adaption in both life and work, one of our key strengths as humans. When we don't know what will happen, we must rely on our curiosity, creativity, and passion instead.

In fact, “transformation” is a result of adaptation. But “big” transformations to become adaptive are often too disruptive, and organizations have no time to recover. Like it or not, disruption requires recovery. But the only reason big transformations are required today in the first place is that small steps weren’t taken yesterday, and the days before that. Now there’s a gap that’s too big to bridge.

The gap probably started with one little crack, perhaps a miscommunication on our part. Maybe the words we’ve been using to discuss our Agile love don’t belong together at all. So, let’s banish the word “transformation,” which sounds dazzling and bold, and focus on the small steps that lead to “agility” instead. True agility requires continuously thinking about the small, by-heart steps, of what’s NXT. But since there’s no end goal (setting one limits your growth potential), it’s difficult to see what you’ve achieved. And, thanks to the rapid pace of an ever-shifting, increasingly digitized market, whatever is NXT changes overnight.

Here at Xebia, what’s NXT with Agile occupies us daily. Like you, we have good days and bad. But we never doubt our true love of Agile. In fact, our passion for it splashes from each heart-written article in this magazine. Agile ís the love of our life. It’s a love that’s infinite. But infinite love comes with a downside.

So, what can you do if your Agile love starts to feel distant, or shows a few cracks? Don’t panic! It’s easy to nurture the love that’s still there into a flourishing, happy relationship again. How? Here’s some advice, from one Agile lover to another:

Cherish yesterday’s memories, deal with today’s challenges, dream about tomorrow’s opportunities, then decide "how" overnight. It sounds simple. But let me ask you right now, “how” has your team or company improved since yesterday? Don’t feel bad if you don’t have an answer. Most of us don’t consciously improve ourselves overnight. On the contrary, we seem to develop habits and routines for just about everything then find it extremely difficult to break them. Sometimes we even seem to worsen overnight, if we don’t consciously make an effort to improve.

So, what’s the next step you can take to improve yourself tomorrow? Reading this magazine can be your first. Then, the easiest way is to follow (and work with) expert Agile leaders who can help you increase your agility. Leaders who are one or two steps ahead, but not too far, to prevent a gap. They’ll remind you to ask yourself at the end of each day, what will I improve tomorrow? 

Let your subconscious mind work on the answer while you sleep. I promise, your sweet dreams of an Agile love that goes beyond the butterflies will come true.

Agile NXT Xebia

Want to know more about the Agile Love Story? Download AGILE NXT and start to change your tomorrow or read moer at Agile Transformations

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