Historically, the Agile Manifesto goes back to 2001 when methodologies such as Scrum, Lean, among others already existed and were known as project management practices; which, in the end, contributed enormously for the Agile methodology creation.
Since then, Agile has become for many companies the “go to methodology” to be implemented not only in technological departments, but with some adaptions to human resources, operations, etc.
Undoubtedly, Agile has transformed and contributed to major changes in organizations: but is it the ultimate methodology?
Should we forget or not combine it with the outcomes of other existing methodologies, or to rethink the way we use Agile in our daily work? When does Agile fail?
When and why Agile falters
In a nutshell, I’d say that corporations use the argument that Agile is not working anymore because it doesn’t deliver or aggregate value to the company. But have they asked themselves about it?
In my opinion, the Agile methodology fails when:
- Both the Scrum Master and Product Owner are involved simultaneously in many projects, i.e., lack of focus.
- There is a large number of projects, and the C-level doesn’t have the capability to prioritize them, i.e., there isn’t a clear roadmap or vision.
- Middle managers don’t want (or do not know) how to delegate and empower teams, i.e., lack of employee trust and accountability.
But I would argue that the biggest problem is that companies have the expectation that by implementing the Agile methodology, changes and immediate outcomes will come.
Well, it doesn’t work like that. Agile won’t solve everyone’s problems, it won’t fill in every department gap, it won’t change people and installed ways of working, it won’t rescue project delays. Agile is a way of working and can be incorporated in companies in so many ways. But miracles won’t happen with a magic wand.
There are many reasons why the Agile methodology fails in many organizations and businesses:
- Because there’s no alignment from top C-level to the bottom teams
- The company doesn’t investin agile coaches, scrum masters, product owners, tech leads
- There’s no technological tools to support the business
- And no spread knowledge within the company about agile practices.
If you do it right: yes
Agile professionals can’t be hold responsible for an Agile project failure if organizations are disorganized (no pun intended!). A successful Agile implementation requires not only well-trained and efficient teams but also the adoption of Agile principles and a supportive environment.
At Polarising, we are deeply committed to the Agile methodology, hence we have implemented it transversely in our different internal departments, from Human Resources to Helpdesk, as well as in most of our client projects.
Periodically, we also review the Agile practices and ceremonies that we realize as the most senseful for our teams and daily work. This is what makes the difference, helping us to be continuously improving our processes and jobs, and efficient project delivery.
Cláudia Mota Silva
Business Analyst at Polarising