The Lean / Agile Hero’s Journey

A reflection on my agile journey.

Stage 1: The Ordinary World

Doing what we’ve always done.

Stage 2: The Call to Adventure

The feeling that there must be a better way.

Stage 3: Refusal of the Call

There are many reasons to turn back:

  • Uncertainty and self-doubt.
  • Fear of change.
  • Too busy chopping down trees to take the time to sharpen the axe.
  • Lack of support.

Stage 4: Meeting the Mentor

Seeing that other people have taken this journey before you, and taking inspiration from them.

Stage 5: Crossing the First Threshold

Formally adopting Lean / Agile. Often involves adopting a framework such as Scrum.

You may have to defeat the threshold guardians, e.g. colleagues who are resistant to change, managers etc.

Stage 6: Tests, Allies and Enemies

Making changes within your team to make Lean / Agile work for you.

Stage 7: Approach To The Inmost Cave

A sense of foreboding. An inkling that you’ve missed something important. A feeling that Lean / Agile is flawed, or that you’re doing it wrong, or it has been over-sold.

Stage 8: Ordeal

Facing up to the fact that Lean / Agile hasn’t lived up to its promise.

Stage 9: Reward

A deeper understanding of Lean / Agile; not just its practices, but its deeper principles.

Stage 10: The Road Back

Adopting a Lean / Agile mind-set.

Stage 11: Resurrection

A complete re-evaluation of what you’re doing from your new vantage point. A new enthusiasm and energy. Addressing long-standing issues.

Stage 12: Return with the Elixir

Encouraging others to take the Lean / Agile journey for themselves.

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