Project Management

Why do organizations fail with Agile?

From the Manifesting Business Agility Blog
This blog concerns itself with organizations moving to business agility—the quick realization of value predictably and sustainably, and with high quality. It includes all aspects of this—from the business stakeholders through ops and support. Topics will be far-reaching but will mostly discuss FLEX, Flow, Lean-Thinking, Lean-Management, Theory of Constraints, Systems Thinking, Test-First and Agile.

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I believe we have to stop looking at Agile failures in general and look at _why_ they fail in particular. There are very well defined patterns of failure with fairly clear reasons for them. I have identified many of these in the past but merely got the label "basher" for my efforts. I have since re-focused my efforts on what to do instead of what not to do since there's not much audience for the later.

But knowing what to do is only half of the story. In my 21 years of experience with XP, Scrum and other methods, I rarely hear promoters of an approach look at the cause of failure other than attribute it to management or unmotivated workers. Which, of course, is ironic, because one of Agile's cornerstone's is trusting people which implies to me, anyway, not to make them wrong.

We need to look at failure not as a necessary result but be discerning about what causes it. We must have no loyalty to our own methods merely because they are our own and it hurts our ego to seem them be ineffective.

This is part of the essence of what we mean when we say Disciplined Agile is agnostic. We don't regard our approach as better than anyone else's just because it's ours. When we are proven wrong about something it is merely is an opportunity to learn.

Posted on: July 24, 2020 10:32 PM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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I totally agree with your point of view Al.

Reminds me with the DA Guided Continuous Improvement motto: Failing Fast is Fine but succeeding early is better.

Also totally agree Al.

Probably not quite a perfect quote, but:

"Show me someone who has never failed (at anything), and I'll show you who has never tried (anything)".

My favorite enabler comment on "failure" is:

"Ooh that's not good, sorry to hear that. Do you think we can fix it? Oh! Well, what can we learn from it for next time?"

Goes back to a bad system beating a good team of people most days! Thanks for the reminder, Al!

Thanks for sharing

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