The elephant and the rider

The elephant and rider is an effective method available to motivate and move forward an agile software development team. When the team lacks motivation, team leader will be able to take a look at this concept and practice it accordingly. This can eventually help the development team to conceptualize how to make decisions and create lasting changes.

According to the elephant and rider concept, rider is referring to the rational brain. Rational brain loves to contemplate the future. However, it tends to focus more on the problems, instead of the solutions. It would look for the analysis options and patterns and then make the plans accordingly. However, the brain will usually get frustrated due to uncertainty.

Elephant refers to the emotional brain. It is dealing with stress and fear. It is possible to spook the elephant easily. However, the elephant doesn’t want to do things that don’t offer immediate gratification. Hence, the elephant always prefers to look for pleasure, so that it can avoid pain. The elephant needs reassurance. On the other hand, it can easily get demoralized and overwhelmed.

The rider is sitting on top of the elephant and it looks like the rider is setting the navigation. Therefore, people usually tend to misunderstand that elephant is bad and rider is good. We all should overcome such emotions. The emotions are responsible for providing us with motivation. Instead of taking control over the emotions and forcing them to remain silent, the elephant and rider should both collaborate each other. Then they will be able to refrain from struggling and cater to the desires pf each other. This method of thinking will motivate and an agile team and ensure the success of it.

— Slimane Zouggari