Pitfalls of Becoming Agile [#AgilePitfalls #BecomingAgile #AgileNewsAndViews]

PITFALLS OF BECOMING AGILE [#AgilePitfalls #BecomingAgile #AgileNewsAndViews]

Agile calls for intense commitment and relies heavily on culture for success. General resistance to change, inadequate management support and culture at odds with Agile values are the top 3 challenges according to the annual State of Agile survey.

PITFALL 1: A LONG-TERM GOAL CAN MOTIVATE PEOPLE
PITFALL 2: THE AGILE MINDSET NEEDS CONSTANT REINFORCEMENT
PITFALL 3: IT IS EASY TO SLIP BACK TO TRADITIONAL MANAGEMENT STYLES
PITFALL 4: AGILE DOES NOT WORK FOR EVERY PROJECT AND EVERY TEAM

PITFALL 1: A LONG-TERM GOAL CAN MOTIVATE PEOPLE
The big draw of Agile is that annual planning is replaced by shorter-term milestones, while success is measured by how responsive teams can be to customer demands or business needs then and there.

But this can make a company seem, inwardly, as though it lacks vision. When the teams are so heavily focused on the current sprint, communication about long-term vision may be put aside or ignored, leaving the team with a feeling that there is no grand plan they are supporting.

One obvious remedy is better internal communication of bigger business goals, whether that is to double staff headcount within two years, or hit a revenue milestone by year end. But, Agile may change those plans anyway because it helps the business to fail faster and learn from mistakes.

PITFALL 2: THE AGILE MINDSET NEEDS CONSTANT REINFORCEMENT
Instilling an Agile mindset internally is one of the hardest things about the transition, as is educating customers and suppliers on how to engage with Agile teams.

Encouraging team members and partners to understand the benefits to this new way of working–fast failure, constant communication, transparency–is the first hurdle in implementation. The second is a technical understanding of the components of an Agile methodology and educating stakeholders on how to engage with the Agile team, which is different from other areas of the business.

That mindset can be achieved by coaching individuals in the soft skills they would need to work in an Agile way i.e. flexibility, collaboration, discipline and a focus on results.

Early wins that showcase the benefits of Agile transformation should be used to champion its cause. The change to culture and ways of working required to achieve the best results are too significant without full engagement.

PITFALL 3: IT IS EASY TO SLIP BACK TO TRADITIONAL MANAGEMENT STYLES
Becoming Agile is a process that requires constant attention to make sure teams do not slip back into top-down structures.

Being an Agile business is not a start-stop scenario, it is a constant shift in culture and balance that has to be regularly revisited. If you stop running as an Agile business, you’re likely to seize up. The real challenge is ensuring the agility is fresh and the team members are focused on being Agile.

Recruiting should be based on the ability to work in an agile and ever-changing work environment, over intelligence and academic ability.

PITFALL 4: AGILE DOES NOT WORK FOR EVERY PROJECT AND EVERY TEAM
The most common pitfall is to believe success achieved by a small team can be replicated on a bigger scale, because what works for small groups often does not work for larger or different groups. Customers, business stakeholders, software assets, government and/or industry regulation can all have an impact on what works and does not work for a team.

The move away from big upfront annual planning and sticking to a particular plan can be difficult in publicly traded companies that have a tendency to respond to pressure from investors.

The key is to determine the appropriate balance.

ADAPTED FROM
Agile Deserves The Hype, But It Can Also Fail: How To Avoid The Pitfalls
Forbes

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