The tale of a “missing agile mindset”: Why agile transformations really fail and how to achieve improvement.

Britta Ollrogge, MBA
3 min readSep 9, 2020
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

Recently I saw an advertisement in a social network for a training course to become an “Agile Mindsetter” — with appropriate certification. The agile mindset seems to be quite important when even people are trained as “agile mindsetters”. What do they do then? Fix people’s heads? Plant agile ideas in their minds?

I also hear from customers again and again: “Agile frameworks don’t work for us — we lack the agile mindset. That’s why we need a coach and trainer.” What nonsense! That’s just a lame excuse, because tackling the real problems seems too tedious. The fairy tale about the agile mindset is based on the idea that frameworks and practices do not work or work badly because people are still stuck in traditional thinking. People have not yet fully understood the agile values and the application of the practices.

But when you analyze the problems, you realize that there is nothing wrong with people’s minds, but that there are completely different problems that prevent agility from producing the desired results. In the worst case, riding around on the alleged lack of an agile mindset can even lead to demotivation, as employees are accused of stupidity and are blamed for not achieving the company’s set goals even though they are doing their best.

A major problem is that agility often stops at team level. If you examine the working methods of agile teams in companies that complain about a lack of an agile mindset, you will find that the individual teams are often wonderfully agile on their own and do many things right. However, agility is not the goal, but the way to achieve corporate goals, such as better competitiveness or faster time-to-market. If agility is only implemented at the team level, but the levels above continue as before, one should not be surprised if the goals are not achieved.

There are three main areas that need to be optimized:

1. Dependencies (across teams):

After the changeover to agile working methods, it can often be observed that although the previous silos have been broken down, each team now forms a new silo for itself. It is important to identify and make transparent multidisciplinary…

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Britta Ollrogge, MBA

I write on Self Improvement 🌱, Productivity 🎯, and Agile Product Development 🏄. My goal is to inspire.💡https://www.britta-ollrogge-consulting.com