Recently, I attended a two-day workshop on SAFe Lean-Agile which is an implementation of Agile Methodology in a large-scale enterprise. Trainers Mark Richards and Karina Woolmer from Context Matters were good at clearing our concepts. Some of us were new to the Agile world and this activity driven workshop was successful in relaxing our curious minds. Deep and dedicated thinking towards agile made me think, When not to go Agile.
Nowadays, especially in software industry everyone wants to go agile, from a start-up to a multi-million dollar project. Is this a white whale of productivity methodologies, from the management standpoint or it’s really worth it. Let’s talk through.
It might sound bad at first but agile is not for everyone. It’s the best answer to this problem.
It’s all about early feedback, moving faster by taking swift and unanimous decisions together.
Reasoning for the case against agile.
1. You are not mentally prepared for change.
You are not happy with what’s happening in your team. You are not happy with ways of management, nor are you happy with your subordinates. You just want to change things, you just want a perfect and correct world. Don’t you? But, are you ready for a change.
Adapting agile ways of project management is a tectonic shift in mindset. You need to have discipline and determination for doing things faster and have transparency within your team.
So, in your organization if it takes a week to get a monitor for a developer. Or it takes few meetings to decide if we should deploy code to a certain environment. Or if getting right arrangements to communicate with you geographically dispersed team is a tough job. Take it from me, agile is NOT for you. You probably have a lengthy bureaucracy where everyone’s ego has to be massaged. Fix that first.
2. Does your team have the agile potential?
Agile needs self-organized and self-motivated people. A lot of this comes with the motivation of team members. Okay, now if you are a manager or a leader you will oppose this in all your capacity. You will say, that as a good leader I can always motivate my team. Bullshit. If you could, your team would never have been de-motivated, else, someone has done the damage already. You got to fix that first.
If you team is not motivated, you can’t trust them to be self-organized and be driven towards a common goal. If you can’t trust them, you can’t go agile.
3. You don’t understand THE agile methodology.
You don’t understand Agile Development Methodology, but you think you can attend a training and then everything will fall in place. If you think, agile tool like TFS or rally, few packs of post-its, a wall to stick random stickers and daily stand-ups is Agile, sorry, it’s not.
Just like any other management methodology, you need the thorough understanding of agile before implementing it. You need experts and experienced tutors around that can guide you at every step.
It’s very easy to slip agile to scrums of waterfalls. You don’t want to be doing this. At first it might look attractive, appealing and easy but you are doing damage to yourself. So be focused and open to learning from your own mistakes.
Big preparations are needed for big wars. Changing your way of working and thinking is a war within. The first thing you should be doing is believing in the concept and idea. Agile methodology is not a magical wand to fix everything and drive you on a success path. If you can’t believe in the idea, it wouldn’t work.