Why is your Agile transition failing
By now we have all heard about Agile.
11:09 29 March 2021
A project management approach aimed at iterative value creation and incremental process improvement. While this method is great for optimizing processes, more and more teams are starting to complain that their Agile transition is failing. To make sure this does not happen to you, let’s explore the main reasons for failed Agile adoption attempts and how to avoid them.
When first introduced to Agile, most of the teams and managers get excited. This iterative way of managing projects seems flexible, easy to use, and oriented towards the most important thing - creating value. However, after a couple of months of standups and sprints, teams tend to run out of steam and start complaining about how Agile is just not the right fit for their company.
While this may be true, in most cases it is not Agile that does not fit, but the team that is not truly taking on the change. And this is a crucial point to understand about taking on any of the Agile frameworks. You have to be ready to change both your processes and your mindset to achieve true agility and take full advantage of the practice.
4 reasons why your Agile transition will fail
To make sure your efforts and money do not go to waste, here are the most common reasons for a failed Agile transition.
- The team is not on board
When talking about the Agile transition, the very first thing you have to do is to get your team on board. Introduce them to the basic idea, explain the benefits this change will bring, and get their feedback. Make sure you take their concerns into account and discuss possible issues and solutions.
By taking this approach, you will prepare them for the change, make them feel like their opinion matters, and possibly even change a few minds before the undertaking begins. This is important because, without the team’s approval, it will be a lot harder to make Agile work. As it is actually the team that will have to drive a lot of the processes and change.
- The team is not independent
Another common mistake made in failed Agile transitions is not enabling the team to act on their own. Many companies successfully implement Agile only on the ceremony level. While completely forgetting the mindset that has to take place. So, they operate with the new meetings, but the team members are still waiting to be told what has to be done and how.
To ensure your Agile adoption succeeds, your team has to become more independent and start acting on their own. Make sure, you prioritize work and give guidance on what is the most important, but then leave it up to the team members to decide who will do what and when. Coming from traditional project management this may seem difficult at first, but giving more responsibility to your team will grow accountability for the work and motivation to perform.
- You are trying to do everything at once
It may seem tempting to turn the whole company Agile at the same time. On paper, it saves money, time, and you can immediately enjoy all the benefits. However, in reality, this is not always the case and only works for companies where Agile knowledge is already very high. For the rest of us, it is far better to take the route of incremental adoption, instead of implementing and failing quickly.
Start your Agile transition with a pilot team - pick one that is innovative and not resistant to change, adopt Agile to your company needs and test out various frameworks to see what is the best fit. Once you have this experience under your belt, move on with a few more teams and use what you’ve learned to implement Agile into their processes. By going about it in this way, you will be able to test on the small scale, learn from mistakes and find the best solution for your needs before making the full transition.
- You do not have the right tools
Lastly, when you start thinking about implementing Agile in your company, keep in mind that you will need new tools to support it. At first, you can use physical boards with sticky notes to track progress and create work item visibility. However, if you are thinking about organizational change, an Agile project management tool will become a must.
The right option will let you easily track processes in the whole company, share data and manage the project portfolio all in one place. You will be able to minimize the meeting time and generate automatic reports for both management and customers so the teams can focus solely on producing value.
Transitioning into Agile project management requires a lot of time and effort, thus it is very disappointing when it does not yield results. To make sure this does not happen to you, make sure to educate your team and prepare for the transition adequately before diving in head-first. Set realistic goals, educate the company, and take incremental steps to adopt Agile to your needs.