Why do agile transformations fail?

Neil Killick
Aug 27 · 2 min read

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  1. “Agile” is too broad in scope and interpretation to be useful as a direction for transformation
  2. There is generally no effort made to find where there is alignment on specific principles in management/leadership, or what practically needs to change (e.g. do they all understand and agree that limiting WIP is necessary for improving throughput and quality, and are taking practical steps to do that? Uncontroversial slogans like “Put the customer first!” are easy to agree with and useless for transformation)
  3. There is generally a focus on teams and individual “workers” needing to change, not management; it is believed management should set the agenda for the transformation (and report on it) rather than lead the way in terms of changing their own behaviour and making immediate practical improvements
  4. Because of the scope of “Agile”, and because it is generally slow-moving corporations who feel they need it in order to “speed up”, they hire hundreds or even thousands of “Agile Coaches” and consultants. I promise you — even if the level of competence and experience in most of those coaches is high for these kinds of situations (which it isn’t), you are left again with the problem of lack of alignment on principles and approach.

Neil Killick

Written by

Executive Agile Coach ⍟ Expert Scrum/Lean/Agile Software Product Development Practitioner ⍟ Digital Product Owner

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