Are We Biologically Programmed to Work in Agile Methodology?

Our brain is a complex organ, which sometimes can be subjected to tricks that will make it work better for our purpose. Find out if and why are we really well designed to work in a truly Agile way.

Willpower

The main difficulty

Save your willpower

Activities that we do basing on habits are not costing us much willpower, so let’s make habits and stick to a once set plan. It’s great to have set rituals, like a daily Stand-Up meeting, “second Thursday of the month” meet, retrospectives, review and planning meetings etc.
Also, having a backlog of work items to choose from is a perfect situation for the willpower. Knowing how tired or energized we are, we can match the difficulty of the task to your given energy state during the day. On top of this, choosing items for ourselves tricks the brain into believing this is more interesting and fun than any task that someone else had assigned us to.

Don’t let others decrease your willpower

Also, we need to treat change requests as regular occurrence — standardize their submitting pattern and think of them as just another task. In cases where a change is requested for the same item multiple times, it would help if it’s not always the same person making the change, as we can only register so many changes before we lose focus on an item, and cannot see further need for improvement.

See the results and sell the results

This is how moving tasks cards is so good for us, every time you move a card to “done” — this is a small success. In order to be focused and successful, and first of all creative, people need to be paid accordingly to their value, respectful of how they see it. An underpaid employee will be unavailable (as their brain is focused in “flight to another job” mode), and an overpaid one will be anxious that with any mistake they make, it will be known they were overestimated. In other words, people need to feel they are selling their results at just the right price.

Having understood this, it’s quite impossible to argue that doing work in Agile methodology is unnatural, isn’t it?
Once we understand how well this approach cooperates with the way our brains work, it starts to make a whole lot more, new sense.
Enjoy Agile!

This article was originally published on the Kanban Tool Blog.