What is an Agile Scout? – Our Order of Agility and Law

When one thinks about a scout what comes to mind? A Boy Scout? The Scout from Team Fortress? An Army Scout? Or Russell from Pixar’s movie UP?

When one does a word association with a “scout,” what other words does one conjure up?

Personally, when I think of the word “scout,” I think of someone who is prepared, ready for action, agile and flexible, quick yet methodical, adaptive, knowledgable, pragmatic and resourceful, team player, mentor and coach, helpful, compassionate, communicative, and above all, a servant leader. Sounds a lot like our Order of Agility and Law doesn’t it? Well, let’s elaborate, shall we?

We’re quite sure that if you pick up any good book on leadership in business you’ll find these very words written about over and over, and they would be very correct.

  1. Prepared – An Agile Scout is someone who is prepared for any encounter they face. One of the best ways to be prepared is through experience and utilizing their network or other resources to attack business problems.
  2. Ready for Action – An Agile Scout is someone who is ready. Indifference and passivity have no place here. This individual is ready to make decisions based on their experience and best practices. An Agile Scout is ready to execute!
  3. Agile and Flexible – An Agile Scout is someone ready to change. They aren’t dogmatic nor dictatorial. They know when to course-correct and take another approach. Whether they come from different backgrounds (XP, RUP, CMMI, SCRUM, FDD, CRYSTAL, KANBAN, PMI, DSDM) they change (within reason) to fit their clients needs best.
  4. Quick yet Methodical– An Agile Scout is someone who knows when to “pull-trigger” and when to take an analytical approach. Different situations demand both. Sometimes an Agile Scout needs to make an executive decision on a method or tool, sometimes it is best to have discovery meetings to better understand how a particular strategy meets a business model.
  5. Adaptive – An Agile Scout is someone who adapts to the changing environments and markets. Life, business, and all things change. An Agile Scout is ever learning and tooling his skills to adapt to todays challenges with yesterdays experiences in mind.
  6. Knowledgable – An Agile Scout is someone who constantly reads. In my experience this is a huge part of the hiring process. Ever ask a job-candidate what they have on their FeedBurner? It’s very telling when they tell you that they only read ESPN.com. Who are they following on Twitter? What books have they read about their profession? Oh wait, we’re talking about an Agile Scout, right? So what have you been reading?
  7. Pragmatic and Resourceful– An Agile Scout is someone who takes what they have in front of them and makes the best of it. Sometimes a Scout is resource-low, tool-less, and Product Owner-absent. This does not scare a Scout, but rather invigorates them to take ownership of the situation and utilize what they have. Sometimes the smallest decisions can make the biggest impact. They also crowd-source from their networks, their knowledge-base, and even doing research. A Scout knows how to learn.
  8. Team Player – An Agile Scout is someone who is always with the team. He is not in an ivory tower looking down. He knows that he should be where the work is being done. He is not absent from his team members. He is intimately involved with the team and has become a valuable lynchpin in the team’s success.
  9. Mentor and Coach– An Agile Scout is someone who has the ability to mentor others. He knows when to support his team members and help guide them towards excellence. A Scout also knows when to be tough. It is not enough to be mediocre. Sometimes some tough love followed by encouragement is the best way to move a team from mediocrity to high-performance.
  10. Helpful – An Agile Scout is someone who is always available. They have a can-do attitude and are always ready to help another person out. Scouts look for ways to make things better, faster, more productive, and possibly cheaper. They are change agents through their ability to help many different people in the quest to become Agile.
  11. Compassionate – An Agile Scout is someone who is empathetic and sympathetic to people’s backgrounds, beliefs, and character. They understand that people aren’t all built the same, and as such, they are willing to take a step back from the business side of things and meet another on their level. A compassionate Scout is a respected Scout.
  12. Communicative – An Agile Scout is someone who is a face-to-face person. They communicate well and know how to communicate to various different individuals. From the CEO to the intern, they know how to communicate, encourage, and inspire people to greatness. They also  know their stuff. It’s hard to communicate to others when one doesn’t know the subject matter well (See Prepared and Knowledgable).
  13. Servant-Leader – An Agile Scout is someone who is above all, a servant first. They seek the good of others above their own and serve those who are in need of their help. A servant-leader is not only respected but influential. They know their referent power and use it for the good of the team, their community, and even their family.

Is this a daunting list? It is. No single person is perfect in all of them, but we would hope that all Agile practitioners aspire to continue to grow in all of them.

An Agile Scout is what we want to be. Do you?

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