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Not many of our parents knew what “traditional project management” methodologies were. And most likely, a quite large percentage never heard the word “Agile.” However, sometimes it feels as if they might have had some idea of both worlds.

When we were children, living with our parents was similar to living under an empire: we followed orders without questioning, otherwise we were at risk of being exiled. The foundation behind most of the commands? “Because I say so!”

However, as we learned and grew, more reasoning and dialogue came into play. In one way or another, two phrases became common among those parent-kid conversations: build good habits and avoid making the same mistakes.

There is a strong connection between that message and the goal we should pursue when we embrace Agile.

In this field, we use fancy, catchy words such as retrospectives, sprints, pair-programming, ceremonies, daily standups,  and many more. We also use some elegant terms such as frameworks, practices and principles to group them and make them easier to digest.

The ultimate purpose behind our terminology is not to appear sophisticated. Nor is it to become prescriptive or present a recipe to overcome business challenges.

Rather, it is to change behaviors, create healthy habits and avoid mistakes –as individuals, teams and organizations.

Unfortunately, overtime some of those terms became misunderstood, misused and even abused by some actors in the industry and some simplistic, opportunistic portions of the Agile community.

If we want to solve problems, and/or deliver more value to our customers, and/or become more predictable and effective, we need to change the way we do our work. If we do not change it, everything will remain as it is today –although with more competitors around and a more complex business world.

Agile principles and values were established to change the way we work. Step by step. Little by little. One day at a time. Constantly adjusting and refining. That is the only way we can change behaviors without becoming unbalanced and without creating a disaster.

We can even say that frameworks and practices are transitional. Most large organizations, who truly started an Agile journey many years ago and own an Agile culture today do not use most of those terms very often. Once they acquired the desired behaviors, those terms became part of their DNA: the natural way they think and operate, their culture.

Agile is about changing the work culture. Implementing  frameworks and practices are the temporary means to a larger end —that of changing behavior and building good habits.

That is what agile-thoughts is all about!

Ricardo Abella

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