Agile Mindset at COCUS

Agile mindset as the basis for successful IT and digitization projects

Agile working has become an indispensable part of today’s IT and digitization projects. It forms the cornerstone for the necessary speed and customer orientation that an ever faster changing technology environment requires. Gone are the days when it was still possible to predict the next 3-5 years with pinpoint accuracy. Due to the rapid developments in the business environment, flexibility and agility are required in order to be able to respond to unforeseen events at any time.

Of course, as the number of users of products or services increases, it becomes more likely that unforeseen challenges will arise that require a quick response. For example, while the principle of online banking took 19 years to reach 1 billion users worldwide, the smartphone took 16 years. The 4G mobile communications standard was able to boast this number of users after just 4 years, and the latest 5G mobile communications standard is even estimated to reach this limit in just 3.5 years.* This means that scaling must take place quickly and effectively in the background in order to be able to handle and satisfy high user numbers. Here it is particularly useful to work with agile methods.

What exactly is agile working?
Agile working means adapting openly and flexibly to the prevailing and rapidly changing conditions. The principle of agile software development goes back to a meeting of 17 project-experienced software developers in 2001. At that time, the so-called “Manifesto for Agile Software Development” was created.

The group that developed this formulated the core values of agile software development as we still know it today with their manifesto. The two Scrum founders Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland also belonged to this group.
Agile Mindset: These are the 4 core values
The basic principle of the agile manifesto are 4 values that form the cornerstones of agile software development. The idea behind this is to pay more attention to these values than to conventional methods and values. However, this does not mean that traditional methods and values are unimportant.
● Individuals and interactions more than processes and tools

● Functioning software more than comprehensive documentation

● Cooperation with the customer more than contract negotiation

● Responding to changemore than following a plan

The idea that these 4 key points can lay the foundation for agile working, even in very complex projects, shows one thing above all: a proper agile mindset is the key factor to really apply basic agile principles.

The basic agile idea and how to apply it
The agile basic idea focuses above all on the self-determined work of the team members. Members are encouraged to always align their own work with the values. This not only changes the way people work together, but also the focus that each individual in the team must place accordingly.

The focus is no longer on one’s own work and progress, but on the product the team is working on and its success, which depends on the work of each team member.
Outcome over Output
In the agile way of working, the responsibility for project success shifts. While in waterfall projects it was always the project manager who fomented the work packages and controlled their execution and progress, in the agile method it is now the team itself that defines what is the most efficient way to achieve the project goals.

One maxim that applies here is “outcome over output” – that is, a focus on the benefits generated rather than the number of tasks completed. In iterative cycles, teams evaluate their own progress against the product goal and can adjust course if necessary. This is exactly where the four previously mentioned values are crucial. Since teams are autonomous for project success, they need to create transparency through communication and interaction regarding their work and be flexible enough to respond to changes. This is the only way to react quickly and efficiently to acute changes and to tap the full potential of the agile mindset.
Guest contribution by
cocus-hillebrand
Julian Hillebrand
cocus_testimonial_roscina
Anna Roscina
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