May 10, 2010 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Agile Project Management
6 Signs That Your Organization Is Not Ready for Agile
By Bruno Collet
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could make an educated guess about the Agile potential of an organization without doing a full scale assessment? Let’s look at signs that any observer can notice when spending a few hours in the workplace.
- Detailed procedures about everything: They assume that there is a reusable recipe for any situation. They ignore that many situations are unique because needs and context change everyday. Procedures and processes are not bad in themselves, detailed directive procedures are.
Client out of sight: In some workplaces the client is a kind of abstraction, an entity we contact by email and the occasional meeting. Collaboration is reduced to a few key events such as capturing requirements, reporting at milestones, and validating tests results, without much else in between.
Coworkers out of sight: Individual cubicles with high walls, narrow corridors, and the like. Workplace arrangement significantly influences how people behave and collaborate. If it fosters individual, analytic work, don’t expect much collaboration beyond the few formal meetings and emails.
Meeting mania: A by-product of the other points, meetings are scheduled for any reason. Most of these reasons would be better served by a brief face-to-face discussion. Unnecessary meetings introduce delays (rooms and people are overbooked) and tend to waste the time of many participants.
Detailed timesheets: They epitomize the belief that work can be forecast in detail. People consciously or unconsciously alter their behavior in order for their daily work to fit in timesheets. Note that timesheets are not bad in themselves, detailed timesheets are.
Restricted access to internet and to personal email: Security hazard vs. work/collaboration tool. For me the choice is obvious, but apparently not for everyone.
I don’t pretend this short list replaces a professional assessment, but it might provide a few hints.
How can we adopt Agile if the organization seems at odds with Agile prerequisites?
Note that it is highly uncommon for an organization to be just ripe for Agile. I have yet to see a workplace where Agile practices can be implemented quickly and on a full scale. In most cases, follow these simple guidelines:
- Choose scale: Identify pilot projects, teams, or organizational units
- Choose practices: Determine which Agile practices make sense and implement agile progressively
- Assess added value: Always keep in mind that Agile is not an end in itself. Assess objectively if and where it can add value.
Bruno Collet combines business acumen with technology know-how. His successful track record comprises Daimler-Chrysler, Siemens, and Loto-Quebec, with roles such as management consultant, project manager, SAP consultant, and software architect. Bruno Collet’s skills are firmly grounded in academic excellence by achieving an MBA at John Molson School of Business and a Master of Computer Science. He maintains a professional website: brunocollet.com.