You Can't Buy It: Agile

Apr 18, 2020
In a recent interview with Builtin³ about Women in Agile, I found myself explaining to a curious journalist that Agile is a practice; it’s value is dynamic: [guided] patterns of cooperating among small groups. It’s not a ‘thing’ that you can buy.  She wanted to understand how Agile might be of advantage to women’s careers.
48 hours later I’m still reflecting about that conversation.  I especially appreciate the neurobiology of Agile.  Our brain evolved in the context of a small group with a shared outcome, language and agreed patterns of feedback – knowing they rise and fall as a group - has proven time and again to optimize what humans can do together2.  What humans can do together is both cultural and biological; human ancestors lived  roughly 9 adults and 9 young - and likely did not individuate.²
Our brains evolved to experience living in the relational dimension.    We are witnessing a moment where humans are co-generating new relational dynamics: a new wave of global learning.  You can’t buy it.
Nor is collective learning new.  It can be a great experience.
The magic of Agile Teams is much like summer camp; stewarded learning cohorts experiment with collective activities, with known rules.  Agile leaders, Coaches and Scrum Masters steward the social safety of participants:  cultural/biological (not psychological.) The dynamics of social safety can be reliably co-generated.  But not purchased; it must be lived.
Key to social safety is a sincere participating guide who deeply respects inclusive exploring and gently wields fierce enforcement.  Mammalian neurophysiology ensures that experimenting ceases at the first suggestion of danger; think mama bear, elephant matriarch, baboon troop, camp counselor… Mammals organize and operate by social safety:  that-which-you-cannot-buy makes everyone energized and resourceful.
Stay tuned for more #DignityLooping
#Agile #EcosystemiQ
  1. The gift of this term comes from Dennis Sandow.
  2. Kotler and Wheal, Stealing Fire
  3. Thank you, Tatum Hunter

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