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How evolutionary psychology validates the agile mindset updated

The workplace is full of individuals with vastly different personalities, and although it can be greatly beneficial for a team to have a diverse set of personality traits, it can also be a struggle when those clashes to a point where the team cannot pull together. Developing software is a social enterprise and Agile has brought about many great techniques and tools to work better together, but some concepts such as “fail fast, fail often” or “just in time planning” can be challenging for certain personality types to fully endorsed. Similarly, many every day Agile practices rely on high level of extraversion. But what happens to those who are rather introverted and do not quite fit with the culture shift that Agile brought to the workplace?

In this multidisciplinary talk, we will draw from personality psychology and evolutionary biology to shed some lights into why we behave the way we do and why the agile mindset might be either easier or harder to adopt for certain personality types. We’ll also investigate how the balance between planning ahead and embracing uncertainty has deep biological roots into how we evolved as a species, and how this influences how we ought to shape software development projects to be aligned with our psychological substructure as human beings. Finally, we’ll cover a few strategies we can apply to help us deal with stress and how we can improve the way we learn and reduce risks in agile projects to build the “right thing” as well as the “thing right”.

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How evolutionary psychology validates the agile mindset updated

  1. 1. How evolutionary biology validates The agile mindset Dr. David Michel david.michel@tessella.com DavMichel76
  2. 2. Mob programming anyone?
  3. 3. Hmmm… sounds like a nightmare to me Wow, this sounds awesome !!
  4. 4. Is Agile designed for extroverts
  5. 5. this is me With Tessella for >10 years Jack-of-all-trade: Developer, BA, tech lead, PM One of Tessella’s Agile experts Coaching teams Running training courses Leading our Agile Community of practice
  6. 6. Evolutionary Biology & psychology Agile Mindset This talk is about… ?
  7. 7. Hmmm… sounds like a nightmare to me Wow, this sounds awesome !!
  8. 8. Working alone Mob programming Workshops Openspace Prefer quiet space to think Work ‘offline’, then report back Stand-ups, Retrospectives One-to-oneinteractions
  9. 9. Most school only have group work nowadays… Now Before
  10. 10. Idea of a successful open space But can be a source of stress… … especially for introverts And everyone puts on the headphones!
  11. 11. Introvert Extrovert Dopamine Acetylcholine
  12. 12. Ever had to mediate a conflict between 2 people at work
  13. 13. Was it really just a matter of opinion?
  14. 14. What if they saw the world differently?
  15. 15. Literally…
  16. 16. Which character are you ?
  17. 17. Myers-Briggs
  18. 18. Energy Sociability Influence Attention to detail Diligence Achievement Dependability Cooperation Concern for others Diplomacy Risk-averse Innovation Adaptability Independence Careful Plan ahead
  19. 19. Agreeableness 23rd Conscientiousness 28th Extraversion 93rd Neuroticism 36th Openness 78th My Big 5 profile
  20. 20. Know yourself Understand others
  21. 21. Concentrate on the task Ignore distractions to focus Pay attention to the environment Keep an eye out for danger
  22. 22. Right HemisphereLeft Hemisphere • Bigger Picture • React to the unexpected • Concerned with anomalies • Focus on unknowns • Details oriented • Focus on what is known • Tries to impose a logical order on the world From a Darwinian perspective, the brain has evolved 2 hemispheres, representing the 2 “modes of thinking” necessary for survival
  23. 23. Right HemisphereLeft Hemisphere • Bigger Picture • Focus on unknowns • Concerned with anomalies • React to the unexpected • Details oriented • Focus on what is known • Tries to impose a logical order on the world From a Darwinian perspective, the brain has evolved 2 hemispheres, representing the 2 “modes of thinking” necessary for survival
  24. 24. Explored Known Order Unexplored Unknown Chaos
  25. 25. Sprinting • Time-box to focus on achieving something • Cannot interfere. If you want changes, you have to wait for the next sprint boundary Spikes • Time-boxed activity to explore unknowns.
  26. 26. Product Owner Development Team Outward Focus Inward Focus
  27. 27. Project vs Product Building the right thing Vs Building the thing right
  28. 28. • Don’t forget the introverts. You might be promoting practices that makes them really uncomfortable • Embrace your inner Yin & Yang. Balance between Delivery & Discovery, Known & Unknowns, explored & unexplored, order & chaos.

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