The “People” Side of Agile

Tom McGrawMon, 12/17/2018 - 10:24

Agile People

Time and time again, organizations have gone through what they describe as “failed agile implementations”, expressing frustrations that they deeply follow the specific processes, tools, and frameworks they’ve been trained on to empower their transformations. However, there always seems to be one critical missing component that is needed in order to drive a successful implementation – the understanding of your people, your culture, and your overall internal mindset.

The Agile Manifesto lists four “core values”, stating the value of one component of work over another. Specifically, the first core value reads:

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”

This is followed by the text “That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

Dr. Ahmed Sidky, President and Co-Founder of ICAgile, a worldwide leader of providing agile accreditation and certification, is commonly credited with coining the term “the Agile Mindset”. The image below depicts this concept in a powerful way, showing its importance.

Agile is a Mindset. Described By 4 Values. Defined By 12 Principles. Manifested Through Unlimited Number of Practices.
Photo Source: Dr. Ahmed Sidky

Dr. Ahmed Sidky’s brilliant Agile Mindset highlights again, the value of “individuals and interactions” as stated in the Agile Manifesto. This is the foundational success criterion necessary for the successful implementation and scaling of an agile culture/environment. Unfortunately, so much of the agile community’s focus is exhausted on the right side of the statement (i.e., “processes and tools” – XP, Scrum, SAFe, JIRA, etc.), while losing sight of the critically important “people” side of Agile.

Since the inception of ICAgile, they have continued to highlight and emphasize the importance of this for our community. ICAgile offers several certifications that focus on agile methods, with each certification aligned to a specific track. Within these certifications, they design “Learning Outcomes” that not only focus on processes, practices, terms, and specific ideas, but more importantly – individual behavior changes, personalities, culture, verbal and non-verbal communications… all of what encompasses the “people” side of Agile.

The newest track in the ICAgile Learning Roadmap is the “Business Agility Track.” This track, as noted on ICAgile’s website “explores the mindset, approaches, and skills in demand in today's dynamic and fast-moving world.” This track focuses on leadership, organizational change management, and culture change. It also explores agility outside of IT and Software Development, and of course, instills the foundational idea of the Agile Mindset. Within this track, they have recently launched the groundbreaking ICAgile Certified Professional in Talent Management (ICP-TAL):

This certification is part of a specialized journey within the Business Agility track and is aimed at people who are in what organizations traditionally call the Human Resources (HR) domain. They are part of an organization aiming to adopt Agile thinking and practices, irrespective of their industry. Participants will come away with the knowledge necessary to tackle new ways of thinking and working equipped with people engagement practices that are more humanistic and values-based.


ICAgile is helping us solve one of our deepest problems of not putting people first.

Through ASPE’s continued partnership with ICAgile, we are proud to announce the first US-based course for this certification, “Facilitating the Agile Culture Change: Building an Effective Agile Organization (ICP-TAL)”. Help yourself and your organization by not allowing this foundational piece to be the afterthought.