For years, we’ve treated agile like it’s simply a process. Just a new way of doing what we’ve always done. Why is it then, that when we train people on how to use the process, they so frequently struggle to see any benefit? Scrum can be described in less than 20 pages. Safe can be taught in less than a week. Why is applying these concepts so difficult for so many organizations seeking to get the benefits of going agile? Why is it so hard…what could we be missing?
The problem is that this ecosystem doesn’t actually exist in most of the companies that are actually trying to adopt Agile—at any kind of scale. Sure, many companies can adopt Agile on a small, self-contained project, but when it comes to changing how money is spent, how projects are approved, how return on investment is realized…we fall short. We struggle with forming the right kinds of teams, building the right kinds of backlogs, and measuring the right kind of progress. It seems everything in the organization is working against us making the kinds of changes necessary to benefit from a more Agile way of working.
The trick isn’t to just teach people Agile, we have to find a way to systematically overcome the structural, procedural, and cultural barriers that are continuously getting in their way.
Furthermore, transforming your organization isn’t trivial…and it certainly isn’t easy. You’re going to need a plan. Yes. A plan. You’re going to need a way to measure progress, demonstrate results, and to economically justify your investment. You’ll need a way to establish hypotheses, validate and test those hypotheses, and pivot when things don’t go as you might expect. You’ll need a way to keep everyone on-board and engaged throughout the process.