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Agile Software Development vs. Mindful Living
In the 80s the software industry was starting to boom. Many many projects were started and an awful lot, estimated to 80%, failed. Why? Because we were applying the project management principles of mature industries like construction to an immature and constantly evolving topic. Failure was essentially in the areas of the solution not meeting the problem, budget and time overruns or teams simply never delivering a working and high quality software before the project is cancelled. At the turn of the 21st century the Agile Movement addressed the problem by putting acceptance of change, flexibility and communication as the key components to project success as opposed to rigid processes, detailed and long term oriented plans. Well run Agile projects demonstrated over and over again that this was the way to success.
Life is the most complex project you will ever run. At each turn you make unexpected surprises, both good and bad, meet you. Having a master plan on how your life will unfold has no chances of succeeding and a certainty of disappointing you. Like in Agile life requires embracing change as a good and natural thing. Grieving and Letting Go allows us to be flexible and grasp the wonders that every moment brings to us. Meditation allows to train our capacity for acceptance and grieving and opens us to a flexible attitude towards life.
Benefits of an Agile and Mindful Life
The main benefits of training our brains towards this flexible approach to Life is reduction of stress and increase of happiness. Obviously this also allows for reduction of anxiety and depression symptoms and simply an increase of well being. Out of this new state of mind we can make calmer and more conscious decisions and succeed better at what we do.
Challenges of and Agile and Mindful Life
Interestingly enough the challenges are the same like for an Agile development process. It’s easy to be agile and mindful when everything goes fine. The real difficulty is to face failure and hardship and stay Agile and Mindful. Agile projects fail because when stress pops up the team suddenly moves back into control freak mode, gets challenged by all parties involved on adequacy of their decisions or even the method and has a hard time to stay flexible. Similarly when a mindful person has hardship it’s very easy to lose the belief that everything will be ok. Our human brains are tuned to remember way better bad experiences than good ones and succeeding 20 times by being present and acceptant doesn’t help so much at the first bad experience.
On a smaller scale, busyness and negativity are also impacting in a bad way our ability to stay flexible and present in the moment. This is where meditation helps keeping focus on our healthy way of life.
I will write more posts about mindfulness meditation techniques and materials as well as my experiences about flexibility towards life.
Meantime try to remember this blog post at your next challenge, take a deep breath, feel what you feel and let go.
May you be well, may you be happy, may you avoid pain and suffering.