In the Forbes article “Why Agile Is Eating the World”, Steve Deming delivers another glossy, flowering version that Agile is mainstream and that your company is behind if Agile is not already prevalent in your organization. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am obviously pro-Agile and a huge Steve Demming fan. I have read several of Steve’s books and I take every opportunity to listen to him speak every chance I get. Steve is one of the early proponents of Agile expanding beyond software development with his book “Radical Management“.
Yet, I have to point out that this article doesn’t seem to acknowledge that the transition to Agile is often predicated by either a crisis or a fear of a crisis. In my experiences, most organizations treat an transformational organizational change similar to a plague until they are in crisis mode. Sure, they will make wave their hands saying Agile is a good thing. However, the challenges of taking on a sweeping change are often more daunting. Why screw up something that is working?
Waiting until you are in crisis puts the transformation squarely in the category of “silver bullet”. Agile and Scrum are anything but that. Both merely expose the challenges and problems of your organization that everyone has known about, but not had the courage to deal with. Planning and initiating an Agile transformation while times are good creates momentum when there is less likely to be resistance. Start small with a team or two, learn from their mistakes, and then iterate, quickly applying what you learned. The impacts to your organization will be minimal as you start scaling out. The success of your Agile teams will be your best advocate for moving forward.
Enjoy the article and follow Steve. He knows his stuff.
Thanks for coming in today.