The biggest killer of agile transformations and how to cure it.!!

The contagious disease “ButWeAreSpecialenza”

This story might read as an attack on managers. That is not my intention at all !!

Manager: Doctor why isn’t our agile way of working paying off?

Doctor: Let me see, there are several interesting things here. You know, the agile principles aren’t perfect, and you say that due to special circumstances you need to have these things that are in conflict with the agile principles.

Agile doctor: Ok…. You have some specific circumstances all right. But wait….Oh no … this might be worse than i thought …. have you ever heard of ButWeAreSpecialenza ?


Manager: ohh now i’m really concerned for these guys. This is exactly the situation we are all in here! How can I tell if they are infected ?

General symptoms include the following:

  • Failure to recognize batches and flow. (Follow me and read about batches and flow in my next medium story)
  • Organisational rules, roles, process or values that are in conflict with agile principles and hinder adaptability, fast feedback, globally optimized but decentralised fast decisions and value focus.
  • Do we have phase managing roles such as innovation manager, test manager, release manager.
  • Do we have roles with central authority, who can stop or veto decisions or change priorities of work based on a narrow area of concern (less than total lifetime product value). Examples: Architects, platform manager, project manager, quality manager, [insert something we consider important or urgently need to improve] manager ect.
  • Do we have agile terms and artifact lipstick. I.e the (mis)use of user stories to create big batch artifacts like test plans or any other document or thing which is not a deliverable product functionality.
  • None
  • We can’t have small batches here because …
  • Phew ! I’ve never even seen a batch floating around here, so I guess ours must be tiny
  • Not really sure what a batch is and why that’s important



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tomas eilsoe

tomas eilsoe

Agile coach, F16 pilot, owner of several startups. Love dealing with problems related to collaboration in complex and uncertain environments.