Jan 25, 2022 by Monica Filip

Agility Is A Mindset

How One Team Of Engineers Applied Agile Principles To Help Someone In Need

Culture and mindset – Two keys to strengthening organizations that have grown in importance for both employers and employees alike. Companies the world over invest heavily to ensure a productivity and morale-boosting organizational DNA. But what makes a good DNA in corporate culture? How do you quantify results and measure return on investment?

A major component in company culture involves having a set of core values that create a sense of community. At Cognizant Softvision, we have six core values – “make it happen,” “better together,” “listen and share,” “inspire people,” “make an impact,” and “agility is a mindset.”

When it comes to agility, it’s in our DNA. Whether working together to create impactful digital solutions for our clients or collaborating on one of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) missions, our teams adapt to any situation to deliver successful results.

Applying Agile Principles To Help A Neighbor In Need

Recently, a group of Softvisioners from our Baia Mare studio initiated a CSR campaign to provide firewood to a local elderly widow. As they dove into the project, the group soon realized that they were applying the same agile principles to their philanthropic mission as they often do in client projects. 

Once the project was defined, the group, who dubbed themselves the “Axemasters,” proceeded by establishing a “budget,” pulling together a list of necessary materials and seeking out donations. The Axemasters then developed an estimate of the number of volunteers needed and staffed the project. 

With the initial requirements defined, the Axemasters dove into their “kick-off and project intro.” On a Saturday morning in December 2021, the team gathered, ready to work. Throughout the day, the Axemasters found themselves taking part in “sprint refinement and planning” as they divided the work, making sure no efforts were overlapped or overlooked.

To help chop enough wood to serve the woman’s needs for winter, the Axemasters organized a cross-functional team, each taking on the task that best matched their experience and skill set. Some colleagues chopped wood, others stacked, and some carted the cut wood to the stack with a wheelbarrow. 

The “deliverables” were brought into the “production environment,” but the work could not be done in just one “sprint.” The group held a “retro” while they had lunch, discussing opportunities for improvement in the next and last sprint. 

Axemaster member Lorin Lauran said, “What this exercise made us realize is that this is what it means to have agility in your DNA– you can actually organize basically anything outside software delivery in an agile mode, with an empowered team that is able to self-organize, continuously adapt and celebrate success.”

The Axemasters did hit some critical issues along the way when some ax handles broke, but it didn’t stop the team from delivering on time. The work was completed at the end of the second sprint, and the “client” was extremely grateful. As for the Axemasters, they felt satisfied and proud to be able to deliver something so meaningful that could make a difference in someone’s life.