Agile is a right-brain mindset

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Speed and agility; this drives Rini van Solingen. As part of the RightBrains Digital Leadership Programme, he will share his knowledge on the advantages of agile organisations and equip participants with the tools to implement this mindset.

Van Solingen needs no introduction to the RightBrains community. He has been one of the core lecturers of the Digital Leadership Programme since 2018.

Van Solingen is a speaker and best-selling author on the topic of Agile Organisations. As a professor at the Delft University of Technology, he shares his knowledge of globally distributed software engineering. He is also the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Prowareness WeOn, a company that guides organisations in their Agile transformation.

“I have always been intrigued with performance improvement in the industry based on sound research results,” van Solingen says. “I want to facilitate collaborations between industry and universities to enable this improvement.”

Research and the sharing of knowledge have always been a part of his journey. Van Solingen studied computer science at the Delft University of Technology and focussed on programmes that measure the quality and productivity in software projects and teams. In 2000 he earned his PhD in Management Science at the Eindhoven University of Technology with a dissertation on the relationship between process improvement and product quality.

“Unpredictability and complexity are at the core of a digital society, and controlling complexity can only be done empirically: through inspection and adaptation,” van Solingen explains. “You cannot allow yourself to be afraid to make mistakes, as learning requires it.”

As part of the RightBrains Digital Leadership Programme, Van Solingen will train participants to build agile organisations and equip participants with the tools to implement this. A quick Google search defines agile as a method of project management; it splits tasks into shorter phases of work to enable a frequent reassessment of processes and adaption of plans. But according to Van Solingen, it is not a method but rather a mindset.

“The biggest benefit of an agile mindset is the ability to be flexible and ultimately successful in complex and unpredictable situations. In today’s world, with unpredictable and rapid change, teams need to be able to respond to this change effectively.”

And this mindset is also valuable in your personal life, he explains.

“You can make grand plans for your life, but life also has plans for you. When having an open mindset and a flexible attitude, it is easier to cope with unexpected events. Rather than making plans, set goals. You will find that the latter often works much better.”

Diversity to Van Solingen is non-negotiable.

“Our world is becoming even more dependent on digital technology, which is diverse in nature. We are making progress, but there should be a focussed effort to achieve greater diversity. I base improvement on continuous learning and trying to improve.”

His advice is to take the lead.

“The future is created by those who dare. Embrace unpredictability as that is where the edge of performance lies. You either win, or you learn.”

Sign up to the Digital Leadership Programme here.