Agile is a mindset. This is important to understand and reflect upon as you begin, or continue, your Agile journey. Remember you’re learning a new mindset as an individual, as a team, and as an organization. To help us go further, I’d like to offer the simple analogy of a tree, The Tree of Agility:


Values – Our tree of Agility is rooted deeply in the four values espoused in the Agile Manifesto. These roots are deep. They provide strength and stability to our mindset and context that feeds the growth of the rest of the tree. The roots, the values of the manifesto, inform us on how to be Agile.

Principles – The trunk of the tree is comprised of the twelve Principles behind the Agile Manifesto. These Principles further inform our understanding of how to be Agile.

Frameworks – As the tree starts to branch out, we hit upon the Frameworks that help us put our Agile mindset into practice with different guidelines, methods and approaches to managing our work in an Agile way. Popular examples of these frameworks are Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), Crystal Clear, Kanban, LeSS, SAFe, DaD, etc.

Practices – Agilists have developed practices that allow people to do the things that help them enact and utilize the frameworks in an Agile way. Examples of practices include daily stand-ups, retrospectives, WIP limits, test driven development (TDD), backlogs, sprints, potentially shippable product increments, release planning, team rooms, sprint reviews, story points, burn-down charts, etc.

The importance of The Tree of Agility analogy is not just the evolution of the tree from the roots upward, but also the applicability of anti-patterns in most companies who are investigating Agile. They often start DOING some of the practices and think they are BEING Agile. They mask their old process with outwardly visible practices of daily stand-ups while never addressing the underlying mindset. The result is that when the seasons change – for example the company gets a new CIO – the leaves fall off and die. However, if the organizational culture and mindset was rooted in the Agile values & principles, the culture survives changing seasons and thrives! This is the difference in BEING Agile vs. DOING Agile, and the difference between long term prosperity vs. wasting time and money with no sustainable result.

Where is your current focus in the tree? Where is the focus of your organization? Are you rooted in the values, or grasping at leaves?

If you don’t know, or if you do know things could go better, and want to make some improvements, use the only Central Indiana Agile Experts: Project Brilliant.

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