If team strictly follows Agile's core values and principles and they started living as per the Agile manifesto, does this mean the team’s mindset is now changed to Agile? Or does anything else need to be done?


I'm a little hung-up on how you strictly follow values and principles, but I'll take that to mean that they genuinely believe in them and try in earnest to let them guide their actions.

To your question, I'm afraid there is far more to do still. Think of it like an athlete. When you first start in sports, you have to develop a mindset that training hard and taking care of your health lead to better performance, but once you achieve that, you aren't done. You have to live that mindset and constantly refine how you train and live to perform better and better.

Also like athletics, there is a natural pull back to the easiest option - to stop being so disciplined and stop working so hard. This is often true for agile teams too and that mindset needs constant tending.

I once heard a coach and trainer put it this way: our skills are constantly deteriorating, so we have to constantly be rebuilding them.

Here is a concrete example of a practice that does this: periodically go through an exercise where the team ranks the 12 principles from strongest to weakest in the team. For each of their strongest 3, the team identifies 2 - 3 concrete things they do that make them strong in that principle that they can double-down on or share with others. For each of the weakest 3, the team brainstorms 2 - 3 concrete things they can do differently that may help strengthen those principles in the team. From this exercise, the team has 12 - 18 items for their improvement backlog to chose from.

  • So how can we rebuild that ? This means just following Agile Manifesto doesn’t cultivate Agile mindset .
    – shailesh
    Aug 14 '19 at 5:05
  • The short answer is to constantly ask the team how we can be more agile. I've updated the answer to include a concrete example of one such practice.
    – Daniel
    Aug 14 '19 at 18:32

I often found that the opposite is true. "Strictly following" something is IMO against the agile principles. I worked with several teams who were conducting agile rituals every day and talking agile language but who were far away from being agile, especially in terms of "valuing individuals and interactions over processes and tools"

My experience so far was that it is much harder to keep the team agile than starting an agile process. The process easily takes over the control over the individuals even if it is an agile process (like Scrum).

So not to be too long with the answer, I found these methods are helpful to maintain agility:

  • make clear to every team member that what he/she is doing, thinking and feeling really matters to the team
  • make clear to the team that the process is here to support them, not vice-versa. That is, encourage thinking about and changing the process
  • make progress tangible - not only for the artifacts the team is creating but also for the way the team is collaborating

Do this every day (not literally but more than once per sprint/iteration or whatever you call it) until you have a strong confidence that the team has established a robust process of self-reflection and self-improvement.


Reinforcing the agile principles is best done by inspecting and adapting.

Once your team understands and applies the agile principles they should look to continually check that changes they make have a positive impact.

This can be done by:

  • Retrospectives, reviews, health checks, etc.
  • Metrics (used carefully to avoid gaming)
  • Surveys
  • Speaking with customers and people your team works with to get their feedback

By continually inspecting and adapting your team will grow to understand how much their mindset has really changed.

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