This is reason #7 you will fail at Agile


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#7 You’re Trying to Make Everyone Agile at Once

It is possible for companies to take up to 100 people and make them agile all at once–Yes. 101 people? No. If you are trying to make more than 100 people agile all at once then you will assuredly fail. Now my numbers may be a little off (entirely too high) but the rule still applies.

“We took all 5,000 of our people agile all at once,” you proudly boast.

“Bet they are not very agile,” is my simple observation. “I bet you do not even have them doing a tiny fraction of the engineering practices that actually make agile work.”

I have yet to be proved wrong.

The sad thing is, in dramatically less time than it took them to roll out a poor version of agile they could have rolled out an excellent version of agile, but not all at once.

Why? Because large organizations need to adapt almost everything they do to really embrace agility. This customization takes profound knowledge of agile and should be done with a tiny focus team and the full participation of executives, coaches, managers, and employees.

First you get a tiny team working well with the executive buy-in on how they are operating. Then you create and customize the ceremonies to better fit the corporate culture. Later you scale the tiny teams to a larger tribe. Lastly, around 100 people, you federate the ceremonies to new tribes–all done with full executive support.

Of course, you don’t do this. Instead you launch agile to everyone prematurely and as a result you inculcate so many bad habits into your teams from the very beginning that you will never fully recover. NEVER EVER.

If I want to really make you agile, I have to start all over again with a new scaling team. We have to do it right from the ground up.

It is possible to spread agile knowledge to several thousands developers very rapidly, but to do so requires a careful scaling plan. If you are doing it all at once, and we know you are, you are following the wrong plan.

This is reason #7 you will fail at agile.

#23 Your Culture is Incompatible with Transparency You have a large portfolio of hundreds and hundreds of software development projects over multiple years and you publicly declare that they are all delivering the original scope within a few percent of the original budget.  Reality simply doesn’t work this way. You…