I remember my first real foray into the Agile mindset. I was a software developer for a mid-sized company and attended a three-day Scrum bootcamp; I left completely bought in. I came back to work ready to transform how we worked. My first stop was the project management group where I proceeded to explain to them why we needed to stop with the Waterfall mindset and start thinking in iterations and increments. I sat back, ready for the accolades I was sure were coming. They kicked me out of their office. The laughter still haunts my dreams.

You know what? Teaching is hard.

Cognitive biases are the result of shortcuts our brain takes to make quick decisions. One particularly insidious bias, confirmation bias, insulates us from ideas that challenge our strongly-held beliefs or views of what is true. When presented with evidence that challenges our views or ideals, we tend to feel a strong psychological discomfort called cognitive dissonance. When not recognized and managed, cognitive dissonance can be a powerful barrier to learning and growing. Because Agile mindset and practices often challenge the status quo in organizations, they can struggle to find traction thanks to the resulting cognitive dissonance. What’s a poor agile transformation agent to do when confronted with this?

Join me to experience examples of some of the games, stories, analogies and activities I use to minimize the effects of cognitive dissonance when teaching Agile concepts. I hope you’ll take these and use them wherever you feel they will provide value. More importantly, though, we’ll discuss successful mindsets and strategies you can use to fill a mental toolbox of your own with stories, activities and examples specifically designed to have maximum impact at your organization.

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