1st Edition

Psychology of Agile Exploring the Human Element at Work

By Bhuvan Unhelkar Copyright 2025
    192 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    192 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Agile is a mindset and a culture that has evolved beyond software development to encompass all forms of project management, business organizations, defense, and society. In today's fast-paced and ever-changing world, adopting an Agile approach is essential for organizations to thrive and maintain competitiveness. This book aims to extend the concept of Agility beyond the four declarations of the Manifesto and apply it to various projects, organizations, and even society. The book delves into the intricacies of Agile and highlights its significance in modern workplaces. It emphasizes that Agile is more than just a set of tools and techniques; it is a way of thinking and a culture that requires a deep understanding of psychology and sociology.


    Key topics discussed:

    • Agility as a leadership characteristic and the meta-mind of Agile

    • Agile mind map beyond the manifesto and methods

    • Psychological frameworks (Maslow, TA, MBTI, Left-Right, Slow-Fast) relevant to Agile work and psychosocial games at work

    • Psychological development and Composite Agile Method and Strategy (CAMS)

    • Agile organizational structures and behaviors

    • Agile Transformations in the Digital Age


    This book is valuable for Agile coaches, mentors, and Scrum Masters looking for more comprehensive answers than what an Agile framework can provide. It is also helpful for business leaders, stakeholders, and product owners who need to deal with ambiguous or unclear issues, as well as project managers and team leaders who already have experience in Agile but feel like something is missing. Additionally, HR professionals and trainers involved in Agile transformation can benefit from this book.

    Foreword. Preface. About the Author. Acknowledgements. Endorsements. List of Abbreviations. Readers. Key Takeaways of this Book. Chapter 1: Leadership and Agility. Chapter 2 – The Agile Mind-map: Manifesto, Values, Principles and Practices. Chapter 3 - Psychological Frameworks and Agile. Chapter 4 -Transactional Analysis (TA) and Agile Leadership. Chapter 5 – Maslow’s Hierarchy and “Right-brained”, “Slow-Thinking” Agile. Chapter 6 - Agile Psychological Development and CAMS. Chapter 7 – Agile Organizational Structures & Behaviors. Chapter 8 – Agile Transformations in the Digital Age. Index.


    Dr. Bhuvan Unhelkar (BE, MDBA, MSc, PhD) is a Professor at the Muma College of Business, University of South Florida; an adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University; and an honorary Professor at Amity University, India. He is also an accomplished IT professional and Founding Consultant at MethodScience. Dr. Unhelkar holds a Certificate-IV in TAA and TAE, Professional Scrum Master – I, SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise) Leader, and is a Certified Business Analysis Professional® (CBAP of the IIBA).


    His industry experience includes banking, finance, insurance, government, and telecommunications, where he develops and applies Industry-Specific Process Maps, Business Transformation Approaches, Capability Enhancement, and Quality Strategies.

    Dr. Unhelkar has authored numerous executive reports, journal articles, and 27 books with internationally reputed publishers including Artificial Intelligence & Business Optimization (Taylor and Francis/CRC Press, USA, 2021), Software Engineering with UML (Taylor and Francis/CRC Press, USA, 2018) and Big Data Strategies for Agile Business (Taylor and Francis/CRC Press, USA, 2017); and several Executive Reports (published by Cutter – now Arthur D. Little) including Psychology of Agile (two parts), Agile Business Analysis (two parts), Collaborative Business & Enterprise Agility, Avoiding Method Friction and Agile in Practice-a Composite Approach. He is also passionate about coaching senior executives, training, re-skilling, and mentoring IT and business professionals, forming centers of excellence, and creating assessment frameworks (SFIA-based) to support corporate change initiatives. He has led several BABOK, Agile, CAMS, and SAFe training workshops.

    Dr. Unhelkar is an engaging presenter who delivers keynotes, training seminars, and workshops that combine real-life examples based on his experience with audience participation and Q&A sessions. These industrial training courses, seminars, and workshops add significant value to the participants and their sponsoring organizations because the training is based on practical experience, a hands-on approach, and accompanied by ROI metrics. Consistently ranked high by participants, the seminars and workshops have been delivered globally to business executives and IT professionals in Australia, the USA, Canada, Norway, the UK, China, India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and Singapore. Dr. Unhelkar is the winner of the IT Writer Award (2010), Consensus IT Professional Award (2006), and Computerworld Object Developer Award (1995). He also chaired the Business Analysis Specialism Group of the Australian Computer Society.

    Dr. Unhelkar earned his PhD in “object orientation” from the University of Technology, Sydney. His teaching career spans undergraduate and master's levels. He has designed and delivered courses including Global Information Systems, Agile Method Engineering, Object Oriented Analysis and Design, Business Process Reengineering, and New Technology Alignment in Australia, USA, China, Malaysia, and India. Online courses designed and delivered include the Australian Computer Society’s distance education program, the M.S. University of Baroda (India) Masters program, and numerous courses, including Agile Project Management and Business Analysis at the University of South Florida, USA.

    He supervised seven successful Ph.D. students at Western Sydney University and one at DD University, Nadiad, India. He has published numerous research papers and case studies.

    Professional affiliations:

    ·       Fellow of the Australian Computer Society (elected to this prestigious membership grade in 2002 for distinguished contribution to the field of information and communications technology), Australia

    ·       Associate Editor, IT Professional (an IEEE Publication)

    ·       IEEE Senior Member, Tampa Chapter, USA

    ·       Life member of the Computer Society of India (CSI), India

    ·       Life member of Baroda Management Association (BMA), India

    ·       Member of Society for Design and Process Science (SDPS), USA

    ·       Rotarian (Past President) at Sarasota Sunrise Club, USA; Past President of Rotary club in St.Ives, Sydney (Paul Harris Fellow; AG), Australia

    ·       Discovery volunteer at NSW Parks and Wildlife, Australia

    ·       Previous TiE Mentor, Australia

    Dr. Unhelkar speaks and writes fluently in four languages: English, Hindi, Marathi, and Gujarati. He loves Indian music, poetry, and literature.

    As a successful entrepreneur, I understand the critical role of agility in any thriving organization. Dr. Unhelkar's book affirms and elevates this understanding by intertwining psychological sophistication as a cornerstone of successful agile implementation. This book expertly simplifies complex psychological concepts, making them accessible and actionable within any agile framework. It's a must-add to my collection and a pivotal resource for leaders who aspire to weave agility into the fabric of their organizational culture. Dr. Unhelkar's insightful approach ensures that adopting Agile transcends traditional practices, transforming it into a holistic and transformative organizational ethos.


    Andrew Lyman,

    Founder All Point Retail

    Florida, USA


    In light of agility's profound significance, researchers and thinkers must delve into the subject from various perspectives. Bhuvan Unhelkar has admirably accomplished this feat in his book - The Psychology of Agile. Including a mind map and psychological frameworks lends breadth to the discussions while exploring Maslow's needs hierarchy and Transaction Analysis provides the necessary depth. This book catalyzes further investigations into the realm of agile.

    Anurag Agarwal, Ph.D.

    Professor, Florida Gulf Coast University, USA



    Dr. Unhelkar offers a fresh perspective on Agile practices, for the first time tying together Agile with psychology, sociology, and organizational theory to develop a new approach to solving industry’s most complex problems. The Psychology of Agile is fundamental reading for any high-performing leader and a game-changer for innovative organizations. Well done, Dr. Unhelkar.


    Andrew Seely

    University of Maryland Global Campus

    Computer Society Board of Governors Member 2024-2025

    Florida West Coast Section Computer Society Chapter Chair





    As an Investor,  Strategic Advisor and Board Member specializing in Digital Transformations, I understand the significance of agile approaches in this field. Recently, I gave a guest lecture to Dr. Unhelkar's graduate class on Agile project management at the Muma College of Business, University of South Florida. I believe that this book will play a crucial role in the success of future Agile leaders, including the ones in the class, who will soon undertake Digital Transformations. The chapters on Agile leadership, organizational structures, and transformations make this book an invaluable resource for all current and future leaders.

    Arun Saha

    Managing Partner, 3RP Capital Partners, USA




    “Psychology of Agile” offers an insightful examination of the psychological foundations of Agile methodologies, making this book essential reading for both leaders and practitioners of these methods. Connecting theory with practice impeccably, this book offers invaluable insight for anyone attempting to transform organizational culture with Agile - serving as both a comprehensive guidebook and a manual for mastering both this art form and science simultaneously


    Jean Kabongo, Ph.D.
    Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Accreditation, and Compliance

    Muma College of Business, University of South Florida, USA




    During my part-time MBA program at the University of South Florida, I took a course on Agile project management taught by Professor Unhelkar. It was a great learning experience, and ever since then, I have been applying the principles of agility to my work. I firmly believe that the balanced approach to agility with CAMS is highly practical and effective in complex development and deployment situations. This book further enhances the practicality of agility by exploring the psychological and sociological concepts essential for an agile leader in the digital age.

    Joshua Baker MBA, Founding partner ECO


    The ability to respond and adapt to circumstances and situations as individuals, small groups, or larger organizations is part of our resilience and success. Such agility, whether in community sports, business, government, or in response to natural disasters and global events, comes from an inherent set of values and a way of thinking and operating within an overall outcomes and behaviors approach. It is refreshing to see a book about agile practices going beyond the standard agile texts and accommodating the diversity of frameworks needed across businesses of all sizes. Working across the business areas using a risk-based approach makes this book of value to the business. Furthermore, the book recognizes the importance of the intrinsic and innate aspects required for sustainable outcomes while supporting the application to practical and diverse business circumstances. From enhancing the prerequisites like project and management and change management to support transformation, this book can also be applied to risk-based areas like finance, audit, regulatory and compliance, and areas like HR.


    Keith Sherringham

    Independent Business Consultant and executive advisor on business and technology transformation and AI implementation

    Sydney, Australia



    Professor Unhelkar is a lateral thinker and has demonstrated exceptional skills in this book.This book entails a vivid and comprehensive way of explaining the concept of Agility beyond the four declarations of the Manifesto and applying it to various projects and organizations. With the discussions on psychological frameworks and their application in the agile workplace, this book has a notable social impact. It is a valuable addition to Professor Unhelkar's previous publications in the field of agile, serving as an excellent resource for both practical and research purposes.


    Prof Prasun Chakrabarti,  PhD(Engg)

    Dean, School of Engineering 

    Director - Research and Publications 

    Dean , lnternational Affairs and

    Department of Computer Science and Engineering 

    Sir Padampat Singhania University 

    Udaipur, Rajasthan, India 




    As a psychology practitioner, I recognize mindset's vital role in an individual's success. This book delves into the importance of integrating psychology to cultivate a thriving mindset within the fast-paced work environment of modern businesses. The book's unique approach includes easy-to-understand discussions on Transactional Analysis and games, the left and right brain functions, slow and fast thinking, and mapping Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to agile transitions. These discussions will positively impact the way we work. Absolutely worth reading!


    Radha Bhatia Ph.D.

    Clinical Psychologist, New Jersey, USA.



    I have known Bhuvan for over ten years and actually wrote the preface for one of his books on agile, "The Art of Agile Practice." Bhuvan has written numerous books on business analysis, software development, and emerging technologies. Each one is a master class in the topic, including this one on the psychology of agile. I have always believed that psychology plays an important and often overlooked role in the success of agile software development and its application to the world in general. Bhuvan is right on point with this enlightening and enjoyable exploration of the mindset of agile.


    Steve Blais

    Solutions Architect, Systems Consultant, Trainer

    Author: Business Analysis: Best Practices for Success (John Wiley)





    The modern world of technology is significantly dependent on AI and machine learning. As the industry evolves, there is an increasing demand for flexibility in methods and the overall work environment. The digital business sector must transform to agility by utilizing data-driven technologies to meet these demands. The digital world's business processes and organizational structures are poised for a seismic change.  This publication provides valuable guidance on the required shift in mindset to bring about this change, making it a crucial resource for every professional and for every library worldwide.


    Professor Francis Yi-Chen Lan, Ph.D.

    DEcon(Honoris Causa), PhD(UWS), BCom(Hons)

    President, Fu Jen Catholic University

    Taiwan (R.O.C.)



    With the rapid pace of evolving technology, there is renewed emphasis on psychology and human behavior in every industry, especially in an agile environment. As a workforce optimization professional, I expect that Dr. Unhelkar's work will transform the way we practice agile, as it beautifully highlights the power of incorporating soft factors. This book is a must-have for practitioners!

    Carolynn Lengyel, MBA, CSSBB



    Dr. Unhelkar and I collaborated on a book during the COVID-19 pandemic called "Artificial Intelligence for Business Optimization." Like our previous work, where we emphasized the integration of Natural Intelligence with AI, this book takes a unique human-centric approach. This book highlights the crucial role of people in any initiative's success or failure. The discussions on soft factors in this book emphasize the significance of people in the workplace, particularly in the digital age, where perceptions spread rapidly and opinions change instantly. Dr. Unhelkar effectively combines strong theoretical principles with the practical aspects of agile psychology.

    Tad Gonsalves, Ph.D.

    Professor, Dept. of Information & Communication Sciences,

    Faculty of Science & Technology, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan.


    Agility is a crucial aspect of work and play in South Africa, just as it is everywhere else. This book does an excellent job of helping people tap into and develop their inner agility. Psychology and sociology play a vital role in the success of any human endeavor, and adopting an agile way of working is no exception. In today's world of data-driven decision-making, AI-powered technology, and constant cybersecurity threats, agility is more critical than ever for businesses to stay ahead. This book contributes significantly by demonstrating how agility is a fundamental human concept that can be applied to team dynamics, business decisions, and society. Congratulations to Dr. Unhelkar for creating such a seminal work.

    Visvanathan Naicker, Ph.D.

    Professor: Information Communication & Technology

    Faculty of Business and Management Sciences 

    Cape Peninsula University of Technology

    South Africa



    The field of psychology is closely intertwined with our daily work and personal lives. As such, it is inevitable that we explore psychological concepts and their applications in work environments. This book, which you currently hold in your hands, is a noteworthy example of such exploration. It is authored by Dr. Unhelkar, a past participant in one of my psychology-related courses and a friend. I have full confidence that his work in this book will have a creative and positive impact on the business and project management world.


    Dr. Bhupendra Palan

    (M.D., D.Clin.Hypno - USA)

    Founder & Director of Samatvam Institute of Mind-Body Healing & Healthy Living; Founder & President of Academy of Hypnosis, India.