Blind Faith Is Not The Way To Agile Success

by | Oct 30, 2020

In Steve Berez’s recent article Q: Agile Teams Are Common in Technology. Why Are the Results So Often Disappointing? he asks the question that seems to have many organizations stumble in answering. Based on a 14th Annual State of Agile report, approximately 95% of agile organizations are stumbling. For something that is almost 20 years old, it is causing problems to figure out. This inability to figure it out has a lot of negative implications for organizations and customers.

Some of the issues experienced will be:

Us Vs. Them situations. Either between teams or within the teams themselves. This holdover from a traditional management environment creeps in, adding frustrations as it clashes with the agile mindset.

The traditional way of working is hiding as agile. This severe clash in the way of working causes delays, firefights, frustrations around, and avoidable stress.

The Corvette-Chevette paradox. Agile teams clash with teams that are not agile. Either loss of value of the agile teams slowing down to keep up with the non-agile team, or obstacles when reversed.

One of the causes of all this leads back to Steve’s article:

“The second pattern involves IT leaders putting too much faith in agile to solve their problems while underinvesting in necessities like modular architecture, automation, data management, advanced analytics, and engineering skills.”

Blind faith that doing an agile framework will solve their delivery problems will not work.

So how do we fix this? How break free from the 95% pack of struggling agile organizations?

Adjustments in organizational behaviors. Frameworks are a tool, and without the right behaviors to use it, there will be struggles.

Treat the organizations as evolving organisms. Different parts have separate functions in an organism yet are in sync with the other parts to adapt to the environment. Organizations are the same. 40 years ago, the evolution rate was slow, so a traditional way of thinking, behaving, and working succeeded in that environment. In the present day, that is not the case, and we see the struggles.

As stated in Chris Williams’ Badass Agile podcasts: By The Book, there isn’t one playbook that rules them all. Each organization is different, and so should their playbook on being agile.

There are plenty of other reasons why Steve’s initial question occurs. Finding the root of the issues, resolving them through the right behaviors and mindset will go a long way in the agile journey and evolution of an organization.

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