Mindfulness and Agile – different sides of the same coin?

By Rebecca Jones

12 February 2016


At face value there would seem to be no connection between Agile and mindfulness. After all, Agile is a project management methodology while mindfulness is a mental state of awareness.

But I really see a lot of cross-over connection between the two disciplines.

When you practice meditation, you’re being mindful. Your mind is going to wander, skip forward to the future and back to the past. But, by being aware of that and pulling your mind back to the present, you can be in the moment. That’s mindfulness.

It is not dissimilar to the role of an Agile coach. A large part of it is not to be a project manager, but to be a facilitator. It’s about being a servant-leader. The way that you are and act needs to be in a way that best serves the team. That particularly means your awareness has to be in the present: actively present and listening openly to what a person is saying.

Being an Agile coach is not about being in charge of a meeting. You’re there to be a sounding board. Sometimes the team doesn’t need me at all – they know what they’re doing. Part of it is that the team knows they can trust you, and that you’ll make the right decisions and vice versa. You can only do that by being present in the moment, not judging and listening openly to what people have to say.

Being an Agile coach is not about being in a controlling position. It is more of a nurturing role. Sometimes that means having to embrace the awkward silence. Now, usually I’m a talker, and I’ll always find something to say. But as an Agile coach you have to allow that awkwardness – so that someone else can come forward with the ideas.

I usually get up early-ish on most mornings, do some yoga and 5-10 minutes of meditation. This gives my day more balance right from the get-go, and being more centred in my personal life allows me to be more balanced at work.

I like to help, encourage and motivate people; I like to see them doing well for themselves. An Agile role fits my personality, and it’s a mindset that is very aligned with me.

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