The 12 Agile Best Self Principles were created during a curious and unintentional mashup of the 12 Agile Principles and Self Care practices and ideas. Both Brian and I have a love of the Agile software development mindset. We spend much of our time honing our craft and living these values and principles.

But let’s get serious, 12 principles is a lot! I can barely remember if I have eaten today or find my car keys. How can I remember 12 things?

Here is the bad news: You can’t. And life does not boil down to 12 discrete, unrelated principles.

Here is the good news: You don’t have to*.

Here is the growth mindset news: If you deliberately practice applying these principles while you are mindful and intentional about how they coexist, you will learn how to leverage these principles to be your best self.

I learned the Agile Principles by applying the principle of reflecting on how to become more effective – then tuning and adjusting accordingly. Essentially I took a team behavior and mashed it up against multiple Agile principles to see what we doing right and what we could do better. For example, if we over-complicated our code review process, then we were violating the principle of simplicity, self-organizing (because we had become self-dis-organizing), and tanked the principle around trust, motivation and giving individuals “the environment and support they need.”

This approach is the opposite of the Highlander quote: “There can be only one”. This process is more like finding ants in your kitchen – there is almost always more than one.

I’ve nicknamed the process of noticing an action, habit or event then looking at it through the lens of multiple best self principles a “mashup”. I also liked the words innovation and collision, but they didn’t resonate quite so much. The word mashup sounds mushy and imprecise (as it should). You can learn and experiment by thinking through experience and principle mashups. All you need is an interesting experience (hopefully a good one, because we are here to turn up the good) and the 12 Agile Best Self principles. Easy peasy.

In the world of art, one of my favorite examples of a mashup is taking ink and watercolor and mixing them together. This creates an ethereal, yet vivid and rich flow of color. I love it. The watercolor remains translucent, while the ink can be used to create clear lines and demarcation.

So mash things up. Purposely collide practice and theory. Bring ideas from different spaces together. Get messy and mushy with no clear finished product in mind. Start a watercolor painting and draw in the ink later.

*At the Global Scrum Gathering: Austin 2019, Daniel Pink said to lead with the bad news because as receivers, we all want the bad news first. He didn’t say anything about the growth mindset news (’cause I just made that up).

Copyright © 2018 – 2023 Michaele Gardner and Brian Hackerson

Published by MichaeleBestSelf

Connector, Catalyst.

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