Agile acceptance

Last post 05:19 pm December 21, 2020
by Daniel Wilhite
4 replies
11:44 pm December 20, 2020

Hi I am new here, my name is Andrew Lethcoe and I work for a large financial software engineering firm. They are trying hard to push agile but they never actually get us proper training.  they resort to an "in-house" training held by upper management instead of having a proper training team come in from the outside, probably to save money.  The problem is that we chug along on projects for months at a time and then at the end, major misunderstandings in the project are uncovered but by this point its too late, damage has been done and money wasted in code rework. every project ends up starting out with a pep talk of "we're going to do agile RIGHT this time", but the same mistakes happen. I am beginning to get a sour taste in my mouth when it comes to agile but i think it is just because the place I work for is not doing it right. I just think this company needs to be steered in the right direction to really get it working, what can i do about this?  thanks.

07:04 am December 21, 2020

The sense of urgency for agile change must be sufficient to overcome organizational gravity. The best way to sponsor a transformation is to create, communicate, and reinforce that sense of urgency from the very top.

A pep talk from the higher-ups each time an initiative fails is unlikely to cut the mustard. Then again, if the executive appetite isn't there for genuine change, perhaps chugging along is sustainable, and they can afford their losses.

01:00 pm December 21, 2020

I guess what matters most is: what are the goals for management to aspire the agile way or working? (Probably and unfortunately what will most likely be something like "be more productive" or "be more predictable"). There must be some kind of explanation in the course you've been to on the "why".

It sounds like management didn't really get it of you're still hung up on projects. And from what you describe, my guess -based on experience in multiple organizations- is that the work load is around 3 times too high. In order to be efficient and predictable, cut down the work load by 2/3. But management probably doesn't want to hear this...

What I suggest is worth making a shot is making this all TRANSPARENT. Ofcourse in a non-violent way ;-). So you could try to gather data on let's say 10 projects (rather than the numerous currently running) and project that on how much time and effort it will take just to *finish those projects*. Scrum is all about focus, and changing priorities on a daily basis caused by projectmanagers chasing and influencing (= disturbing!) teams is killing productivity. So narrow the scope, see what you as a company really, really, really (!) needs to get those projects done and move from there.

(my 2 cents based on what I interpreted reading your question).   

03:31 pm December 21, 2020


I believe you are in the right place about this conversation, but I also recommend you to join a LinkedIn Community or group to share your topic, and have more visibility, since the forum seems to be not so populated.

Here is My suggestion to you.

It is clear that Agile trends is getting up, the problem is, what you are pointing out here. Unfortunately, many organizations and managers  claim to be agile and drop statement and tools like JIRA or "Home-Made" sauce, while they are very fare from the agile practices.

Depending on your role scope and position in your company, but if you have low power and low influence, I suggest that you look for the stakeholders in your company who get the power and the influence to make and drive the real decisions and changes. Show them the benefit of applying agile not what they think it is.

You can start by educating them (if you evaluate it necessary) on a different framework that exist and start by asking which framework they want to apply since they claim to use agile.

Look for feedbacks to other persons working on other companies who have really applied agile approach or Scrum and ask the benefit in therm cost or time and value gained by their organization.

Maybe you are not scrum certified ? Get some training it might help you.

I you will find your path


PS: Excuses the mistake and grammar typo (I am not a native English speaker)





05:19 pm December 21, 2020

You are in a very difficult situation.  But you aren't completely helpless. 

Many companies talk about undergoing an "Agile transformation" but only introduce a lot of terms while not changing anything.  Part of the problem is that they see everything as Agile.  The word agile is not a noun.  It is an adjective.  This is from the Merriam-Webster dictionary

Definition of agile

1marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace - "an agile dancer"

2having a quick resourceful and adaptable character - "an agile mind"

From your description I am assuming that you are an individual contributor and not a member of management.  Maybe your best chance of helping is to lead an "agile revolution".  Historically, revolutions have started with a small group of people that come together for a common cause and then recruit others by telling their story.  Actions taken by the revolutionaries will start to win others to their cause.  So, start with your immediate team.  Work with them to retrospect on their past work.  Get agreement to change one thing at a time that everyone feels could improve the team's ability to work together towards goals.  Adjust frequently based on new learnings.  Plan for short term with an eye on the long term. Incrementally create useful features and ask for feedback frequently from anyone that has a stake in what you are building. 

You can start the change with your team.  As your team starts to improve, help your management representative to make it transparent to everyone how you have started and how you will continue to improve.  Others will take note and start to follow suit. 

I say all of that but would not be honest if I didn't also point out that history shows a lot of revolutions that fail or were squashed by the people the revolt was against.  It doesn't always work but unless something is tried no one will know if it was a good idea. 

Good luck and let us know how things go.