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Overcome the #1 Agility Killer

Reading: Overcome the #1 Agility Killer
Overcome the #1 Agility Killer

Agile in general, and Scrum specifically, is predicated on the idea that each team has everything they need to deliver an increment of value. But unless you’re a small team or a new startup, that’s usually the furthest from the truth.

When a team doesn’t have everything it needs to deliver an increment of value, that’s a dependency. And dependencies come in many forms.

Scrum assumes you have no dependencies. But the reality is, if you’re a large enterprise trying to become Agile at scale, you’re typically up against a host of more complicated ones.

In large enterprises, we’re not only talking about dependencies between the team and external entities but also between teams that need each other to deliver an end-to-end increment of working, tested product.

These kinds of dependencies don’t just go away overnight.

You can’t simply wish them away or pretend they don’t exist.

They are real, and they are in your way. And as long as you have them—Agility will be impossible.

How you choose to deal with your dependencies is critical to Agile’s effectiveness in your organization. But you really only have two choices. You either have to break the dependencies, or you have to manage them.

Which is the right way for your organization?

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Comment (1)

  1. Gordon Mullan

    Breaking/eliminating dependences should always be your preference, unless the effort to do so FAR outweighs the effort to manage them.

    I tend to find that if dependencies can be broken, that’s usually more of a “one-time” cost, that then allows greater independence going forwards, whereas managing them might seem easier in the short term but the cost repeats, and gets bigger, the further down the road you go.


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