Agility? What problem are you solving

I like the story below as it points to the fact that to progress from ‘AGILE’ as a buzzword to being agile as a work practice requires a different way of thinking and rightly defining the problem. Here goes

Quote –

A truck driver was doing his usual delivery to a Hospital. Just as he was about to leave, he discovered he had a flat tyre. He jacked up the truck and took the flat tyre down. When he was about to fix the spare tyre, he accidentally dropped all the bolts into the drain. Try as he might, he couldn't fish the bolts out. He was at his wits' end.

Just then one of the patients happened to walk by and asked the driver what happened. The driver thought what the heck, there was nothing much he could do. So he explained what happened to the patient. The patient laughed at him and said,  "You can't even fix such a simple problem... No wonder you are a truck driver....Here's what you do. Take one bolt from each of the other three tyres and fix them on this tyre. Then drive to the nearest workshop and get the missing ones replaced. Easy as that."

- Unquote

Many organizations and professionals today talk about agility and AGILE, but it remains a mere buzzword because of the mindset that sees “the bolts in the drain” as the problem to be solved.

What problem are you solving? Problem definition approach must evolve to embrace agility as is the case of the truck driver. The problem he was trying to solve was lost bolts whereas the problem he faced was more around mobility, he was stuck.

The patient re-framed the problem, and proffered a workable solution which while not perfect, brings about some progress in getting the truck moving.

In my opinion, organizations that are truly agile developed a skill to define the problem being solved and/or the objective to be achieved. You lost the bolts, so what!? Do you know how you tend to define problems, that is the first thing to change on your journey to becoming an Agile executive/professional. Problem definition and recognition is key!

 I love this HBR video on “why we can’t see solution in plain sight”