There’s a popular African proverb that says:
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
If I’d heard that phrase 30 years ago, I’d have wanted to be the person moving quickly on his own.
It’s not that a younger me was selfish, but I was ambitious. While I understood the value of teamwork, I would have interpreted the proverb to mean I have to depend on others to get to where I wanted to go.
Surely no one would have wanted me to succeed more than I did. Why would I rely on others when I was confident I could take care of myself?
Agile Mentoring Is For Everyone
Today I know that’s not what the proverb is saying. It doesn’t mean that we all have to move together at the same pace like a pack of animals.
It doesn’t even mean you have to sacrifice speed when working or learning from others.
It means that when you’re receptive to ideas besides just your own, opportunities can appear that may otherwise have remained locked away.
Throughout my life I’ve encountered many people who have accelerated my personal and professional journeys through the wisdom they’ve shared.
Sometimes it happened unexpectedly through casual conversation. Rob was a supervisor at my first programming job. One night during dinner after work he showed me the power of Unix command line programs—specifically, how to chain small programs together to do bigger things. On that project, what Rob showed me let me very quickly code a library of small tools that I could reuse rather than developing everything from scratch.
That one piece of advice dramatically increased my productivity, which got me my first promotion to a software team leader.
Sometimes it’s more about considering a new philosophy than learning a practical skill. I still remember q coworker’s comment about getting things right the first time. I used to be fast but sloppy, and he made me reconsider my work when he told me:
“Mike, no one will remember how fast you did it, just how well you did it.”
Ironically, going slower made me faster—I was no longer having work rejected by QA two or three times. All of a sudden I was both faster and producing higher quality work by getting it right the first time.
Without interactions like these, I wouldn’t enjoy what I do today.
I would have made different—perhaps less informed—decisions. I would have wasted time struggling with a problem instead of doing things a better way. I wouldn’t have spotted opportunities disguised as closed doors.
As Issac Newton said:
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Each of these interactions (and there have been thousands in my lifetime) was like a pit-stop at a race track: a quick burst to refuel and add a spark and energy to my own ideas and plan.
An Agile Mentoring Program Plus Resources from Mountain Goat
And that’s why a couple of years ago I established the Agile Mentors Community.
I wanted it to be a watering hole of great agile ideas. I’m amazed by just how valuable this community has become to its members and to me.
I’ve been inspired by what teams are doing to adapt. I’m clued in to how they’re embracing new technology and getting the best from remote teams.
That’s why I want to make the Agile Mentors Community accessible to as many people as I can.
Did you miss our LIVE Q&A?
All Agile Mentors Q&A sessions are recorded and made available to AMC members. Want a sneak peak? Take a look at this recorded Q&A from a few years back.
What You Get with the Mountain Goat Mentorship Program
We’ve packed the Agile Mentors Community with tons of resources and activities. It’s not just another online agile community; it’s an agile lifeline.
- Monthly live Q&A sessions with me, Mike Cohn.
- Exclusive resources, like our online planning poker tool and over 40 hours of continuous learning resources (SEUs).
- Access to a passionate and curious agile community, including an online forum and monthly lean coffee.
- Find agile practitioners from multiple industries and experience levels to build a mentoring relationship with.
Whether you are an agile coach, product owner, scrum master, or developer. Whether you want to dip in and out, reach out when you’re stuck, or engage regularly, I think you will love the Agile Mentors Community. And the Agile Mentors Community will be better with you in it.