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Creating an Agile Culture

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Adopting Agile is an exciting step toward increased efficiency and team job satisfaction, but this is often easier said than done. It is a process of organizational metamorphosis that requires a shift not only of process, but of mindset, and while this change can be a tricky one, it is achievable.

Learn some of the takeaways that you can use in your workplace, whether it's another start-up or a large-scale enterprise.

1. Start from the Top

Good culture doesn’t come out of anywhere, and while it also requires a committed, well-aligned team, it ultimately begins with leadership. Top-down institutions of policy and strategic planning are a necessary part of creating and maintaining any culture, but especially one as adaptive as Agile.

Starting from the top looks like this:

  • Agile Invested Leadership

  • Regular, Well Communicated Strategic Planning

  • Agile Policies and Procedures

What if the team is resistant to Agile?

Getting the team on board can be one of the biggest challenges in Agile adoption. This is especially true when Agile is not the first “new method” that has been introduced to the team. To make matters more difficult, team buy-in is a necessary part of the process, and a team that is hesitant toward it due to doubt, discomfort, or misunderstanding will be a hindrance to the adoption’s success. That being said, there are a few things you can do to help reduce your team’s resistance.

To start, we suggest that leadership...

  • Share their plans | Teams work better and with more confidence when they know what they are doing and why (see point 2.)

  • Encourage Honest Feedback | Having a workplace where questions are welcomed and answered and where well-meaning feedback (whether positive or negative) is acknowledged helps to build trust. Retros and Collaboration tools can help with this (see points 3 & 4).

  • Properly Introduce Agile | It is extremely important that when Agile is adopted, it is done correctly. Leadership and Teams need to be properly trained on what Agile is and how it should be performed. Any tools that are implemented also need to be properly configured and users need to understand how they work. This will help to make sure that teams understand what they’re doing and that time is not wasted on un-learning bad habits.

2. Know Your What’s & Why’s

Once the top is sorted, the rest of the organization needs to follow suit, and this cannot happen unless teams know what they are doing and why they are doing it. Not only will understanding processes and policies ensure they can get their jobs done, but it will help them to do those jobs enthusiastically and well.

Knowing your what’s and why’s looks like:

  • Understood Expectations

  • Understood Goals

  • Trust and Enthusiasm Between Leadership and Teams

3. Retrospect & Incorporate Frequent Feedback

Improvement and Innovation are a big part of effective Agile cultures but practiced Agilists know that it’s not just about moving forward. It is often just as important to look back. Having regular retrospectives and open, frequent communication allows for much-needed feedback and reflection. Strengths can be harnessed, and weaknesses can be addressed, allowing Agile organizations to be more than ready for an unpredictable market.

Retrospection & Incorporating Frequent Feedback Looks Like:

  • Built-in Feedback Loops

  • Regular Retrospectives for Projects and Sprints

  • Open, Safe Communication

4. Lean into Collaboration Tools

While tools are certainly no replacement for the willingness to work together and ask for help, they can be an excellent aid, and teams have a multitude of choices ranging from messaging and call tools such as Zoom and Teams, to more sophisticated systems like Atlassian’s Jira and Confluence. Some teams even rely upon sticky notes! What’s important is that teams find a toolset that best suits their unique needs, and uses them as effectively as possible.

Leaning into Collaboration Tools Looks Like this:

  • Agile Invested Leadership

  • Regular, Well Communicated Strategic Planning

  • Agile Policies and Procedures

*Suggested Agile Tools that can help in the process include: Jira Software, Jira Align, Jira Core, Jira Software Premium: Advanced Roadmaps, Confluence, ProductPlan, Slack, Jira Service Management, DischordJira Service Management, Zoom, Microsoft Teams.

Find a toolset that best suits your unique needs!

3. Take Ownership

Lastly, a mature Agile culture is full of people who have taken ownership of their work. These team members know who they are and why they are doing what they do. This sense of purpose and identity helps them to feel committed to their work and ultimately creates better stewards of Agile and the products or services their organization delivers.

Taking Ownership Looks Like:

  • A Sense of Purpose & Identity

  • Commitment & Engagement with the Team

  • Good, Agile Work

While these takeaways are a good place to start, Agile is not “one size fits all.” For more information on Enterprise Business Agility and Transformations, Agile Program Practices, Agile Team Coaches and Instructors, or any Atlassian Tool Configuration and Administration, feel free to reach out to We are happy to help!

To dive deeper into the topic or to refresh your memory, check out the "How to Earn Leadership Buy-In" here.

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