If your business strives to be Agile, there is a chance you will run into the challenge of getting stakeholders involved and keeping them engaged. This is a common issue that is often the result of how you introduce your stakeholders to the way you seek to operate – if you even take time to introduce them at all!

Agile is essentially a way of how you look at and think about knowledge work. Agile is a mindset.

There are many ways sources that businesses can refer to when striving to be more Agile, but expressing these technical terms to stakeholders may not be as meaningful. Below are suggestions for how you can describe an Agile mindset to those within your business for whom you are building solutions.

An Agile Mindset Rundown

The Agile Manifesto and the Principles that correspond with it were written for the context of software development. The intention was to address software development issues that were brought up in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The wording of these documents was written to focus entirely on software development. For those who do not develop software, the mindset may need to be explained differently.

There are two primary aspects of the agile mindset. The first is to deliver the maximum outcome with minimum input. The second is to seek short cycles of feedback so you can learn as you go with the intention of adapting quickly.

It is also helpful to explain the 12 Principles of Agile in a way that can be more easily digested by everyone within an organization:

  • Strive to deliver value by satisfying the needs of your customers.
  • When you start out pursuing something new, you do not know everything so it is important to structure your approach in a way that you can learn as you go and adjust.
  • Short feedback cycles are to be strived for so you can learn (as mentioned in principle 2).
  • Keep teams cross-functional.
  • Pay attention to the people putting in the work and trust them. Offer them support as well as the environment they need.
  • Remove barriers that can get in the way of collaboration for your teams so short feedback cycles can be attained.
  • Determine an outcome you would like to reach and measure your success and progress based on whether you are working toward delivering the outcome.
  • Stick to a pace that is sustainable. Don’t expect people to multitask or work overtime (to avoid burnout). Focus on what is most important rather than trying to juggle many things at once.
  • Choose practices that are appropriate for building your product or service, only choosing the ones that allow you to learn and adapt.
  • Maximize the amount of work not done with simplicity.
  • Use the people who do the work to determine how they can do it based on their experience and knowledge.
  • Adopt short feedback cycles to reflect on what you have done and adopt what you have learned.