Why Do We Keep Failing At Everything?

When Agile Becomes Fragile / When Lean Start Up Becomes Lean Shut Down

Looking deeply, seriously, thoroughly about today’s situation, we will find that the biggest problem is not about having no processes, lack of resources, or not having knowledge of how to do things. The sole reason of everything to fail, and will always fail is the fact that we are lying to ourselves that we profoundly understand the fundamental of the core principles that are Agile Software Development, Lean Start-Up and any modern management theories. Actually we don’t; not even close.

I am not talking about the detailed steps of applying those principles, but I am really talking about the core ideas. It is very fine to ask how should I write a user story? How can I estimate story points? How much work should I do in this sprint? What feature should I build first? But the followings are what I always hear … from the big guys in charge:

  • One of the management says: I need a full requirement document. It must describe everything in very detail. You have to think about the whole end-to-end workflow from day one. Otherwise, I will kill your project.
  • The other one says: Why do I need to think of a business value for each story? I have already selected my MVP and here they are … the whole feature 1 over the whole feature 2.
  • A group of middle managers comes up with this question: How can we be sure that the development teams do the estimation right? … Oh yes, we need a time-tracking system.
  • Also this question: How can we be sure that the teams perform as we expect them to? … Err … Setting KPIs must be helpful here. Let’s do it now. Force them to hold accountable for everything we want.

The only thing I feel from all of the above is that they know nothing about this. Worse, they don’t even care. And when they hold all the power and authority, we, as humble employees, cannot expect to get good advice, rational decision, reasonable empowerment, and everything we need to be agile, creative, innovative and to take the organization to a glorious day.

There is a big conflict presented in what they do and what they want us to do. The problem is barely about us. Rather it is about them being a blocker, issuing bad policies, asking nonsense questions, and measuring useless data. So … The Big Guys, this sentence is for you.

“If you really want to fix the problem, FIX YOURSELF FIRST.”

P.S. This article firstly got drafted a couple of months ago. I have been waiting to publish it for quite a long time. Today is a good day. ☺

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