Monday, March 25, 2013

Do you bring the “Semper Fi” mindset to your Agile Teamwork?

When I think of a strong example of an Agile team, I recall teams that would help each other out, would watch each other’s back, and would focus on the project at hand, working strongly in a collaborative manner to achieve the common goal. 

Interestingly enough, this is what it takes to achieve the ideal Marine mindset.  Semper Fidelis is Latin for “always faithful” and has been the Marine motto since 1883.  This motto guides the Marine to remain focused on the mission at hand and stay focused on each other as part of the unit, as part of the team.  The intent is that once you commit and become a Marine, you transform to something new, something better, where you don’t worry about yourself.  Instead, you worry about the guy next to you and to the success of the mission.  You live a life with personal integrity, courage, determination, and commitment.  These are the same attributes that make a member of an Agile team successful. 

Another mindset within the Marine leadership is “to lead by example”.  In Agile, we don’t need people telling us what to do.  We need people who lead by example and who live the Agile mindset.  This is the best way for the team to absorb what is expected by the Agile values and principles and is another way to grow.  

If you want to learn about the importance of teamwork, spend a moment learning about the mindset of a Marine.  As I would illuminate the attendees of my numerous Agile workshops, one strong attribute of teamwork is “no one succeeds unless everyone succeeds.”  Agile team member should bring encouragement to each other, integrity to do what is right, courage to challenge the bad habits, and commitment to see the work through.  This is teamwork and beyond.    

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