Understanding Agile’s failures

Common reasons given for why Agile fails:

  1. Management wasn’t involved
  2. Teams weren’t motivated
  3. People didn’t follow the framework
  4. Agile is hard and complex
  5. What I never hear is – “our frameworks are insufficient for the task.”

“Management wasn’t involved.” Why do you think they would be? They were ignored by the Agile Manifest, called ‘chickens’ by Scrum and now are told to be servant leaders to the team (which his _not_ their proper role.

“Teams weren’t motivated.” Teams want to do their job, not do ceremonies. Yet most initial Agile training is about ceremonies and only indirectly related to the teams’ work.

“People didn’t follow the framework.” Sounds like a broker whose clients lost money because they didn’t buy low and sell high.

“Agile is hard and complex.” Definitely true. But we’ve made it harder and more complex than it needs to be. Key concepts are missing, making it like driving on the wrong side of the road. It’s still pretty complex when you’re on the correct side, but at least the success rate is higher.

The biggest missing concepts are:

  • organizing around value streams
  • the minimum business increment
  • managements’ role
  • a focus on work, not the framework
  • attending to culture

More coming

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