You can have a lot of success in implementing Agile/Lean methodologies when you have small teams or even self-contained project teams. You’ll be able to realize a ton of business value just by moving to an Agile way of working. But why does it all begin to break down at the enterprise level? Is it because Agile doesn’t work?
The answer is quite simple, actually. Learn what’s getting in the way of your Agile Transformation in this short clip from Toronto Agile 2018.
This is how I felt when I was coaching Agile teams, I was creating these incredibly high-performing teams, these teams that were capable of “doing great things” as Lisa Atkins likes to say. But I really felt like my teams were constrained. They couldn’t move as fast as I wanted them to move. They couldn’t move as fast as they were capable of moving. The reason is because there’s dependencies. Every time we turned around, there was another dependency that was really holding the teams back. And I felt like I’ve got these incredible teams, I’ve created this high performing team, and they’re just not able to move as quickly as they’re capable of doing. The reason being is our teams can only move as quickly as their slowest dependency. So, when we start talking about how do we really unleash the promise and the potential that Agile practices and culture offer, we need to start thinking about, strategically, how do we form teams with the central organizing principle is product, and how do we really encapsulate those dependencies?
Let’s start talking about what is it that we mean by encapsulating dependencies. Organizations, especially large enterprise organizations have lots of dependencies. We can be super successful implementing Scrum and realizing great business value with small teams. We can be super successful in implementing Scrum and realizing great business value, even with, you know, self-contained project teams and managing those dependencies across those project teams. Where we really start to fall short is at the enterprise level. At the enterprise level, there’s organizational dependencies. We have very complex legacy architectures to deal with. We also have technical dependencies that we have to deal with. So the thing about dependencies, and again, I’ll say this again, when it comes to unlocking the promise and potential of Agile, really truly Transforming how your organization delivers value. When we’re forming teams, restructuring the organization, we need to consider, strategically, how do we manage for these specific dependencies? How do we encapsulate them and create what we call end to end responsibility for a single product?