“Agile is chaos. It sounds chaotic to have people being able to make their own decisions around how they work.”

These were the words from an audience member during a business talk I did about agile recently. For this manager the freedom many teams crave (and often need for success) was just too much. It was chaos. And for him, and his style of work, he is probably right.

Equally. The world of work where I’m told what to do with little opportunity to diversify to meet customer’s needs and demands, sounds like chaos to me.

Agile is simply about removing (overcoming, going around,  going through, passing under, jumping over, etc) the barriers that stand between where you are now and where you want to be. It’s about understanding what stands between you and achieving your purpose quickly and effectively, and then responding in the most appropriate way to move forward.

This requires studying and reacting to each barrier as it shows itself. I doubt any two barriers or friction points are the same, so it needs a team that can adapt and iterate. This requires many freedoms and people who embrace this way of working. For some managers this is too much. For others, it’s the perfect environment.

We are all on different paths and are seeking out different environments to work in. Agile is chaos to some. For me, it’s the perfect environment to work in.

My advice is to seek out an environment where you will flourish as a manager. Avoid those in which you’ll be frustrated and underperform. Your career depends on you being able to give it your best – and this often relies on finding the right environment for you.