In my years of working with corporations and startups, I have seen a lot of project failures due to deplorable communication skills, folks resisting change and ripping each other apart to get ahead, and teams clueless to their impact to the larger project or individuals. I was often at a loss as to how to communicate difficult news, create consistency, or even just feel less stressed during the day. And I thought it has to be a better way.
I realized that I lacked a guiding set of rules for dealing with my coworkers, clients, tasks, deadlines, duties, commitment and goals.
Learning about the Agile methodologies I was able to start the timid steps towards a new way of thinking and finding balance both at work and maybe in the rest of my life.
I knew that it’s difficult to work with teams, as they are sums of different individuals, coming from different “universes”, with their own personal history. Most of us are trying to be the best to the detriment of the whole even if we don’t want to do those things.
Here’s what I’ve learnt so far…
We Need to See Things As They Really Are
One of the biggest mistake we do working on a project (or in our day-to-day life) is that we usually don’t see the things as they really are, but how we want them to be.
We all have dreams, filters, and baggage that we bring to the workplace. We have our own ideas and we want everybody to take them into consideration by hook or by crook.
For example, a member in our team tells us that what we’ve done so far in the current Sprint is difficult to use – “you should add this, or change that…”
What is our instinctive reaction? To protect our baby, of course. To respond defensively and justify the reasons why we decided to put this function here and omit this button there. I can even hear ourselves thinking, “he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he’s never built an app before!”
Well, it’s very difficult for most of us to accept a situation for what it is, without adding our interpretation and emotional connotation.
But it’s important to step outside of our interpretations and reactive emotions and accept the situation for what it is: our work is far from perfect and it needs to be improved. That’s it.
If we can drop that for just a moment and see our work just as it is, we can see that it is always changing and our flexibility will benefit us.
It’s All About Flexibility
Even though we pretend to be Agile, sometimes we forget that Agile emphasizes communication, collaboration and the most important, the flexibility to adapt.
We need to learn to deal with change. Just think about that… Everything is impermanent. This transience causes us suffering, particularly if we deny its truth and insist on over-attachment to things.
Being aware of this can result in greater creativity, teamwork and cooperation. As we learn not to attach to our own ideas or fixed ways of doing things, and to share their successes with others, we will build an increased ability to adapt, and to be flexible and resilient in the face of change. And that’s the essence of the Agile philosophy, my friend.
React Less. Act More
Most of the time we are not mindful, we are not aware of our emotional mood when difficult circumstances arise. And remember that nothing is permanent. We always need to respond to challenges. What if we don’t have the proper attitude?
Well, reacting with panic or anger, for example, will always make the situation worse. This will keep us from responding in the most effective and efficient way. We will always find the best solutions when our minds won’t be clouded with fear, anger, worry or stress.
So let’s be mindful and don’t let emotions cloud our judgment.
Working on a project can be tremendously rewarding, but it can also be filled with potholes of unkindness, difficulty, and stress. Finding a path to walk down that guides our actions can be liberating and calming.
We all want our projects to run more smoothly, more harmoniously and with greater effectiveness. We are all working towards being the best people we can be, in and out of the office.
The best thing is that being Agile it is just a practice; there are no right answers….