Everybody’s on board, so why isn’t Agile working as it should? Understand the top two reasons Agile fails and what you can do about it with our CEO, Mike Cottmeyer.
The challenge with dependencies is that dependencies reduce Agility. Period. Dependencies are going to reduce Agility, so you have two choices. You either manage dependencies, or you break dependencies. Okay? In the presence of dependencies, most Agile methods will not work effectively. So, what we have to do in the presence of dependencies is have compensating controls.
Because we’re purists, and those methodologies don’t articulate the compensating controls, then what happens is, we start installing Agile in the presence of dependencies, and we wonder why nothing works. And the reason is, is that Agile methods assume dependencies don’t exist.
Now you can say, well, but SAFe has all these methodologies and things for managing dependencies within the value stream. Well, what about when there’s dependencies across value streams? What about when you’re dealing with a systems and platform layer that supports 10 products across your product line, right? In all of them, we’re funneling work down into that shared services layer. How do you manage those dependencies? Right? I don’t think anybody’s got a really viable answer. So, you either manage dependencies or you break them, right? That’s your only choice.
Resistance is another thing, right? Resistance has to come into play. Most everybody at this point has a CIO that they’re working for that says, “Yep, we’re all on board. Let’s go do Agile.” But do they really understand what it’s going to take to do Agile? Do they understand the organizational design and governance and technology challenges that they’re going to face?
What about the middle managers that are under a mandate to say that they have to do Agile, but yet they’re scared to death that their job’s going to change and they might not be employed at the end of it?
So, we have to figure out how to create safety for people. They’ll say that they support it, because they have to, and then they’ll do everything up underneath that to undermine it. Maybe not even intentionally. Right. It’s not because they’re bad people. It’s because they’re scared. Right. We have to create safety for them.