Monday, March 14, 2016

Three Clarities in Agile Movement

The best way to fail is thinking that you will implement agile inside a business unit without taking into account the whole enterprise.

Agile has become the mainstream software management methodology across industrial sectors, now it turns to be so pervasive, many think that an Agile movement is on the way. The point is doing Agile is far away from being agile, and there is high failure rate to become a real Agile organization, and often Agile is increasingly perceived as an "improvement" on reductionist management, which has dominated management theory and practice for the last century. So What are essential takeaway about Agile principles and how to lead agile transformation more effortlessly?

The real Agile dev organizations should follow and focus on freedom from common sense business principles: Often the Agile projects or practices go wrong because  it is no longer something guided by aspirations and principles but a product that is packaged and sold. When businesses are trying to find new ways of delivering software has changed to the way they are trying to deliver software under whatever flavor of framework a particular consulting company is selling. And it's no surprise that Agile will fail because it has been applied for its own sake, rather than taking a business initiative to achieve business results. Here are some symptoms of the “agile’ illness:
1). The desire for a silver bullet.
2). Excuse for staying in comfort zones, even if getting more harms not being felt.
3). Being afraid of uncertainties and losing controls.

It is healthy while the "Agile movement" is centered on "address ignorance and call out stupidity": Agile has reached its momentum. However, the very people who started this Agile journey in many ways have now contributed to the new problems caused by the overwhelming Agile phenomenon. The biggest threat is thinking these frameworks solve all of your problems and make the organization Agile, they don't. It's really hard work to discover what Agile is for you. The rapid growth of over commercialized "Agile movement" and the popularity of Scrum have been making more and more people do the wrong things by the name of Agile or Scrum. Before there are "enough people doing that" to improve the world, the new ignorance and stupidity decorated by Agile/Scrum will be overwhelming, and those who address ignorance and call out stupidity are marginalized. Hence, Agile needs to get back to the right track with customer centricity, not tool centricity.

Agile intends to harness three "I"s - Incrementalism, Improvement, and Innovation. The fact is that the only way you can assess competence in agile is for a skilled practitioner to have cross-functional conversation and understanding. There are more Agile practices without being real agile:
1).Moving from one extreme (big upfront design) to another (no design at all)
2). Productization of agile: Instead of adopting agile as mindset and way of working, there are a lot of folks out there who are selling agile as products or services.
3). Implementing agile in IT departments without working on touch points in other departments (HR, finance, etc.)

Agile transformation is not an easy journey. The best way to fail is thinking that you will implement agile inside a business unit without taking into account the whole enterprise. Why? Because it’s about to integrate. Take any agile software development method and think about all the business unit and people who have to engage to create the product. Agile is a corporate management philosophy.


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