15 Behaviors that Hurt Agile Cultures and 5 to Pioneer Agile Mindsets

It's pretty easy to describe a "bad culture," but articulating what "good culture" looks like is less straightforward. Similarly, it's easier to define what an agile mindset isn't than what having an agile mindset actually means. 

Agile Mindset and Agile Cultures by Isaac Sacolick


In this Episode 43 of 5 Minutes with @NYIke, I share five ways of defining and targeting agile mindsets. It's an incomplete list, but it's a start for any agile transformation leader aiming to take their teams beyond scrum practices and achieve an agile culture.

Agile Culture Anti-Patterns

In this post, let me share what an agile mindset is not. Here are fifteen unsorted behaviors that anti-patterns to agile mindsets.

  1. Leans toward tech excellence to the detriment of customer needs
  2. Drives features without considering operational needs (tech debt, defects, etc)
  3. Wants everything to be a priority or won't set any priorities
  4. Expects near-perfect delivery on scope, timeline, and quality
  5. Wants the scrum team to translate story point estimates into hours
  6. Translates "self-organizing" as "full empowerment" to do "whatever the team wants"
  7. Uses the phrase, "That's not Agile" to drive people away from discussing best practices
  8. Pushes the velocity gas pedal to 110% and rarely celebrates teams' wins
  9. Commits but rarely completes
  10. Defines the what and how without explaining the who and why
  11. Shares opinions without seeking data to back up the story
  12. Closes the user story, then adds others to the backlog on what the team didn't get 'done'
  13. Develops waterfall project plans on top of agile methodologies
  14. Inflates estimates to game velocity or circumvent process improvement
  15. Underinvests in pre-sprint planning, presents stories right before sprint start, and changes requirements mid-sprint

Again, this is an incomplete list. Some are behaviors, and some go against fundament, but they all illustrate 

What is an Agile Mindset

Please watch the video, where I share five behaviors aligned with agile mindsets.

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