Saturday, July 9, 2016

"Digital Agility" Book Tuning: Three Big Hurdles in Agile Movement

Being Agile implies continuous changes, discovering new ways of working, collaborating, delivering value by overcoming frictions and challenges.

Agile is a philosophy and a set of principles to run today’s digital organization. However, it is a rocky road to shift from "Doing Agile to Being Agile." What are the big hurdles for people or companies when they decide to take the rocky road of agile transformation? What’s the hardest decisions you have to make on the journey? What are the biggest barriers, and serious pains? What could be the pitfalls to fail you, and how can you learn from your mistakes in making a continuous improvement?


Overly rigid processes: In the organizations which get stuck in doing agile only, there is no such thing as "enterprise agile." What there is at the enterprise level is a rigid process that maintains the status quo and gives lip service to agile concepts by adopting a few of the more trivial practices. The very notion that there would be "schools" of agile is itself a misunderstanding of the underlying notions. In doing Agile, Agile supports many different practices and frameworks at many different scales. However, in principles, if you think that there are several flavors of "agile," then you've already lost. The belief that following rituals leads to guaranteed success - there is a certain cargo cult mentality that confuses blind obedience to the rules with actually approaching a problem in an agile manner. The problem is people do not really understand what agile is. Most of the times they use the word “agile” when in fact, they are talking about agile software development. They assume they have one framework and rigid processes to rule them all and lead to atrophy, and what was once a good method becomes inflexible. So doing agile gets stuck and even stifle innovations.


Lack of risk management mechanism: A big threat to the agile movement is simply that 'going agile' fails to provide the promised benefits. Even if you try to do everything right, there’s still a risk of failure. And some of the teams who think they are “Agile” will not know how to do everything right, so for them, the risk is greater, and it’s proportional to their level of ignorance. So you need to embed the risk mitigation and intelligence mechanism in agile practices. Choose the level of risk that you want to work with, gain in-depth understanding about the benefit return/risk ratio, and the practices of agile management disciplines. Agile approaches with risk management mechanism can’t guarantee your project will succeed either. However, it can help you to fail fast and fail forward, minimize the cost, effort and waste involved. And most importantly, learning lessons from the failure and make continuous improvement.


Lack of high-mature leadership" or return of "Command and Control” management style: One of the big hurdles in Agile movement is that top management has not become well educated on the intricate value of Agile principles and practices. They might thought that the agile way of working can deliver what an organization needs, even when it doesn't know what it wants. Lack of commitment by all (management, dev team, customers), blame game - Blame it to "certifications," "leadership," "business/IT," "culture," and anything else that can be blamed to save one's own weakness, etc. are all the roadblocks on the way. Top executives are the one with real change power and control. So it’s their job to build the most effective organization possible for the business long term growth. They should be the most knowledgeable agile thought leaders, practitioners and change agent to optimize overall organizational agility.


Everything is in a constant state of flux. Even there are big hurdles in Agile movement, Agile cannot be threatened, a shared vision is something that is needed to help organizations strive for a better working engagement. Being agile is about continuous improvement, and this implies continuous changes, discovering new ways of working, collaborating, delivering value by overcoming frictions and challenges.


"Digital Agility" IBook Order Link

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