The F16 pilots Secret to Success: The Power of Agile Thinking

As agile practitioners, we often talk about the importance of flexibility and adaptability in our work. In today’s fast-paced business environment, the ability to quickly pivot and adjust to changing circumstances is crucial for success.

But did you know that this concept is also key to military operations? In fact, the military has been utilizing agile principles for decades, long before the term “agile” even existed.

One area where this is particularly evident is in military aviation. When aviators go to war, they do not follow a rigid, top-down command structure. Instead, they plan together, understanding that their plan will not survive the first contact with the enemy. They use planning however to align themselves and make it easier to adapt cooperatively later.

The command and control unit in the air (the AWAC) does not give direct orders to the teams during execution. Instead, they provide the big picture and make only high-level strategic decisions. On the execution level, teams have full decision-making authority and coordinate changes through a flat communication structure. They continuously seek opportunities and avoid risks, all while aligning themselves with the changing big picture.

This decentralized approach allows for greater flexibility and adaptability on the battlefield. It enables teams to quickly respond to changing situations and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

So, what can we learn from the military’s approach to agility? First, that a decentralized structure can be highly effective in fast-paced environments. Second, that the ability to adapt and respond to changing circumstances is critical for success.

As agile practitioners, we can apply these lessons to our own work. We can embrace a decentralized structure and empower teams to make decisions. We can focus on adaptability and flexibility, rather than rigid adherence to a plan. And we can continuously seek opportunities and avoid risks, all while aligning ourselves with the changing big picture.

In short, the military’s approach to agility can serve as an inspiration for us in the agile community. By embracing decentralization, adaptability, and flexibility, we can become more agile and better able to thrive in today’s fast-paced world.

How F16 pilots and agile practitioners can develop the skills and mindset to make decisions under pressure

In this post, I will discuss how F16 pilots and agile practitioners can develop the skills and mindset to make decisions under pressure and thrive in high-stress environments.

In the world of F16 flying, pilots are faced with complex, high-pressure situations on a regular basis. They must make quick, decisive decisions in order to complete their mission successfully. This ability to make decisions under pressure is essential for F16 pilots, as it can mean the difference between success and failure, life and death.

Similarly, agile practitioners are often faced with complex, high-pressure situations where they must make quick, decisive decisions. In agile, fast-paced, iterative development requires teams to make decisions quickly and efficiently. By making the right decisions, agile teams can solve problems, make progress, and deliver value to their stakeholders.

So how can F16 pilots and agile practitioners develop the skills and mindset to make decisions under pressure? Here are some tips:

1. Practice making decisions under pressure.
In both F16 flying and agile, the ability to make decisions under pressure can be developed and improved through practice. By regularly facing and dealing with high-pressure situations, F16 pilots and agile practitioners can develop their skills and build their confidence.

2. Develop a clear, concise decision-making process.
In both F16 flying and agile, it is important to have a clear, concise decision-making process that can be followed in high-pressure situations. By having a well-defined process, F16 pilots and agile practitioners can make decisions quickly and efficiently, without wasting time or energy.

3. Stay calm and focused.
In both F16 flying and agile, it is important to stay calm and focused even in the most challenging situations. By maintaining a calm, focused mindset, F16 pilots and agile practitioners can avoid being overwhelmed by stress and emotions, and make clear, rational decisions.

5. Consider the potential consequences of each decision.
In both F16 flying and agile, it is important to consider the potential consequences of each decision before making a choice. By weighing the pros and cons of each option, F16 pilots and agile practitioners can make informed, strategic decisions that will support their goals and objectives.

6. Seek input and feedback from others.
In both F16 flying and agile, it is important to seek input and feedback from others when making decisions. By gathering input and feedback from other F16 pilots, agile practitioners, and stakeholders, F16 pilots and agile practitioners can make more informed, well-rounded decisions that will support the success of their team.

By developing the skills and mindset to make decisions under pressure, F16 pilots and agile practitioners can thrive in high-stress environments and deliver value to their stakeholders.

Did a talk on the largest agile confrence in Asia about business agility

Video will be available later.

An F16 fighter pilot perspective on how we can achieve business agility at scale using fighter pilots ideas about decentralization, planning, mutual trust and organizational structure. Air combat and product development have more in common then you might think. F16 pilots are planning and executing under extreme uncertainty and in complex environments, just like we are in business and product development. Fighter pilots have thought long and hard about how to solve some of the same issues we are struggling within the agile world. Fast feedback, OODA loop, self-organization, mutual trust, decentralizing without sub-optimizing…This talk will inspire you to see your familiar problems in a new perspective, so you can hopefully find new and better solutions.

My talk from GOTO confrence 2017 is now availavle. Its about the challenges we experience when Scrum is installed only on the team level of a classical hierarchical organisation, and a fighter pilots perspective on how the SAFe framework suggest we fix those organisationel bugs.

SCRUM vs SAFE

SAFe talks at GOTO 2017

I’m going to talk on the international IT conference GOTO 2017 1-2 October.

There will be a talk about how traditional hierarchical organizations struggle to be agile and how SAFe and other agile frameworks solves that.

https://gotocph.com/2017/sessions/225

The other talk will be a case study where we used the Scaled Agile Framework to accelerate and improve our way of working on a group of agile teams at YouSee. 

https://gotocph.com/2017/sessions/239

If you are interested in going and still haven’t purchased your ticket use the promo code  “speakerfriend” to get 10% off registration prices.

Looking forward to meet you there !

Tomas.

Join ambitious people like you.

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