Why Agile Fails
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Failure to Launch: Why Agile Fails

Agile is quickly becoming the industry norm across various markets. This is driven by the hyper-competitive nature of today’s business environment. Organizations have discovered that leaner competitors are chipping away at their profits with ease. Most of these competitors have been using Agile methodologies to compete with organizations almost ten times their size.

Of course, larger players are now catching on. Implementing Agile has been at the forefront of most executives at such organizations. Many have begun to make the changes required to adopt Agile methodologies. Yet, success has not always been swift. This has raised curiosity among executives and stakeholders alike.

Today, we’ll investigate the various reasons why implementing Agile can sometimes result in failure. Read on to learn more!

Why Implementing Agile Fails

Here are some of the reasons why efforts to adopt Agile methodologies may be failing at your organization.

Unclear Purpose

One of the key reasons that Agile has been a success across multiple industries is that it provides a clarity of purpose to all team members. With a clear purpose, team members can move in the same direction. Having a clear purpose is not enough, though. This purpose must be supported by keeping the team closely knit and in constant communication with each other.

Organizations that are unable to bring their teams together will always face challenges when implementing Agile. Team members need to communicate all the time so that they can create accountability for each other. If some members are working remotely while others are working from the office, communication suffers. As a result, the team is unable to collaborate effectively.

This creates difficulties in establishing a clear purpose, and hence the direction for the entire team seems unclear. Agile depends on all these principles to succeed. If your organization is unable to create a clear purpose, direction, clear communication channel among team members, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Agile methodologies don’t return the end-result you were looking for.

Old Habits

Big organizations have long-standing policies and workflows that can be hard to replace overnight. Here the blame normally doesn’t lie with team members but with management. Team members will find it difficult to work within a new framework initially, but they will always succeed eventually if they’re provided with the assistance they require.

In most cases, assistance means reiterating the new Agile methodologies rather than legacy systems. If management is in two minds about this, one cannot expect better from teams. In most cases, management uses old methods which aren’t conducive to Agile principles. Agile isn’t something that can be implemented half-heartedly. Either you’re adopting Agile methodologies, or you’re not!

Successful Agile implementation requires a complete shift in the way the organization functions. Reliance on legacy methods will invariably be antagonistic to Agile principles. As stated previously, a singular direction is required for Agile to succeed. If management isn’t clear on what methods to use when managing projects, the confusion will result in the failure of Agile.

Not only must management be clear that Agile is the way forward, but implementing Agile also means supporting teams in any way possible to make the transition smooth. If legacy systems are left behind in earnest, the organization will begin to see the benefits that implementing Agile originally promised.

Lack of Experience

This should come as no surprise to anyone associated with the highest levels of an organization. Change management is an important part of an executive’s job at any organization. When implementing Agile methodologies, management should keep in mind that results will not arrive overnight.

Not only that, but also remembering that there will be plenty of challenges and setbacks. Management must be prepared to have their resolve tested countless times to reap the rewards of Agile. This is because Agile isn’t simply a methodology for project management, but rather a philosophy and a way of life.

Under Agile, the organization will see a huge structural shift with people taking on new roles, working under new structures, and tackling new challenges. Furthermore, and perhaps more fundamentally, people will be asked to think differently. A change at the most foundational level requires adequate support dedicated to it.

Support means that everyone, including management, will have to be retrained and teams will have to be kept in the loop and allowed to participate in the changes. Unity of direction is an important part of implementing Agile, and it is no more evident than in this case. Since the changes are new for everyone, it is essential that lines of communication are open across the board and any challenges that arise are tackled together.

Mixed Implementation

As already mentioned, implementing Agile cannot be a half-hearted process. If management has decided to adopt Agile principles, it must encompass the entire organization in those changes. It is not possible to implement Agile in one part of the organization but not in others.

This is because Agile is all about collaboration, and most modern organizations have various departments supporting one another towards a common goal. If one part of the organization has adopted Agile fully, but the supporting parts have not, the overall success will be limited.

This is because the team with the Agile principles will be slowed down by the other departments. Agile teams make commitments for quick and flexible work, but if Agile teams do not support them, they cannot possibly deliver work on the agreed timelines.

Conclusion for circumstances why agile fails

The problem here is obvious for why agile fails. For Agile to succeed, the entire organization must adopt and be fully committed to Agile methodologies.

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