I Want to Use Agile, but My Organization Doesn’t Want To

February 23, 2016 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Agile Project Management

I Want to Use Agile, but My Organization Doesn’t Want To
By Chris Moody

Fear not agile warrior, you are not alone and help is on the way. They are many situations where someone just knows that agile could help or even change the face of the entire company if utilized…yet someone or many people within an organization are opposed to the idea. So what should you do? First off what are some reasons someone would be against agile?

  • The’ve been on a team where agile was used, and failed.

  • They don’t know enough about agile or have misconceptions.

  • They don’t believe agile is right for their organization/product.

  • They’ve worked with an Agile Coach/Scrum Master/Consultant that was not very good at their role. Yes, not everyone does their job well…even in the wonderful agile community.

  • They are from the past (I kid…I kid! That was an IT Crowd reference)

Now for the part you really came to this blog post for: What are ways I can help my organization adopt and/or support agile?

  • Start emphasizing agile principles in whatever work you are doing. As a consultant that works on a wide array of projects with a variety of methodologies, I’m often tested with how to apply principles on a personal level. Getting out of the theoretical and nitty gritty practical application is a great exercise towards see if/how agile could work at your organization. If this is something you feel is “out of your league” or you just don’t have the time to do, it’s OK. There’s other ways to makes strides towards becoming more agile.

  • Propose solutions to problems from an agile perspective but without using agile lingo. Some people are just turned off to agile terms and immediately roll their eyes when you say “backlog grooming” or “daily scrum”. But if you are able to problem solve using agile principles you could begin to win over even the harshest of critics.

  • Create a mini scrum board for tracking your own work. I heard a story of a person who was trying to advocate for their company to adopt agile, and started doing a scrum wall in a shared space. Pretty soon scrum boards were up all over the company. Some were labeled “Inspiration wall” or “Wall of vision”. Everyone from IT to Sales was using them. Baby steps can be better than no steps, right?

  • Contact consulting companies. See if they would be willing to share about agile within your organization. Some consulting companies will do this for free because it’s a great way for them to help your cause, as well as demonstrate their expertise in this area should you need their services down the road. Or see if they are willing to just share free resources with you.

  • Join user groups and contribute to the agile community. There have been times where my primary daily function was far from an agile focus, but I was able to stay energized by attending local groups or writing blog posts in my personal time. Also, sometimes effective reflection comes when you are looking in from the outside.

  • Find a new opportunity. (Please take this with a grain of salt as it’s just my opinion.) This for many reasons isn’t the first option anyone would like, but it may be the right solution. As the industry seems to be moving more and more towards adopting agile, it’s less likely that a company is just flat out rejecting agile. It could be that they proclaim to use agile but it’s very broken or dysfunctional. These kinds of situations can cause stress if you are a firm believer in the agile principles. But is the disappointment or stress consistently outweighing the rewards or satisfaction experienced? If yes, it may be time to look for new opportunities.

What about you? What advice would you have for someone in this scenario? I’d love to hear what other people have done or are doing.

Chris Moody is a a project manager/consultant working for a consulting firm in the Seattle area. In recent years he has been working with agile teams more abundantly. You can read more from Chris on his blog.

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1 person has left a comment

There are a number of “Agile-esque” techniques and tools which are easily blended into more traditional looking planned, waterfall-looking approaches. What you get as a result is an approach that harnesses many / most of the Agile benefits within the framework of a project plan that people used to “normal” project plans can relate to - that can be used to baseline and track/tick off milestones etc.

I started adopting DSDM techniques in 2000, gradually evolving the approach over the years since to incorporate Agile techniques. What I now have is a robust project framework that I have a 100% track record of successful project delivery (and recovery of others failed implementations) - and not just with software development projects such as ecommerce/web/ebanking - also with COTS and packaged solutions such as ERP, CRM, PDM/CAD etc.

I have “sold” this blended approach at “C-level” - successfully demonstrating incremental deliveries to gain trust for wider adoption.

I have applied it to projects from $1M - $80M - I have found that technology / size of project are rarely a limiting factor.

So - do the organisations that I work with “let” me use Agile? Hell no! They “let” me use techniques and an approach that I can clearly demonstrate has worked across multiple technologies, multiple industries and is scalable to any size of project!

Take away: don’t focus on “selling Agile”, focus on the guaranteed outcomes that you are able to deliver, focus on the visibility the executive will have on the results of their investment all the way through, focus on the ability for both the business and the project team to make both small and large corrections to the direction of the project (by agreement) along the way, focus on how you are able to respond and adapt to uncertainty, unknows, changing business priorities and much more - and still deliver success and value to the business.

Now THAT is what I call Agile!

Dean Carlton wrote on February 28, 2016 - 7:02 pm | Visit Link

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