Have you experienced either of these scenarios?
- The teams had “agile transformation” before, but those experiences left a sour taste in their mouths. They have “seen it all” and thought agile is nothing but a hyped up word, and they do not want to go through that again.
- People think agile is only for software development, and they are not software. Those team members have been in their industry for 20+ years. They know how that industry works, and it definitely is not like software that can just release every day if they want to. So, they thought, obviously, agile does not work for them.
How do you think those teams would react when they’re told to do agile? Do you wonder how the rest of the company perceives and reacts to this kind of resistance? Understanding these questions is the key to finding out the actual reasons for the resistance and finding solutions to help resolve those issues. Agile is usually not the issue.
To the soured teams, it is yet another “agile transformation” that would go nowhere. They would be “trained” and expected to work this new way of working while the rest of the company remains the same. Or worse, they now have extra work to do to “map” agile into existing infrastructure, company policies, and processes. Which tells them, the company doesn’t really care about what they do, the company only cares about what management wants (predictability, efficiency, their pet projects and making money). I.e. no actual change. Things will go back to where it was before, except worse, because the company would think they are now certified agile.
For the non-software teams, a lot of companies don’t know what to do with them. So the companies leave them alone instead of truly understanding what agile organization means and applying agile principles to their discipline and industry. Unfortunately, a number of non-software teams and non high-tech industry use that as an excuse to continue their ways of working even though that has not been working for them.
Teams don’t want to go through agile transformation when the rest of the company doesn’t change. When the company insists on doing things the same way, acts the same way, values the same thing, then teams can’t truly be agile. Before we dive deeper into that, I’d like to hear from you. How would you propose to help these teams? Drop me a note below.
Also, join me and my colleagues in the UK and US on November 5, as we share our stories about resistance to agile that comes from middle management and teams. Are we going to find the problems divergent across the pond, or are they ubiquitous? Would we be able to find the same solutions to the middle management and team resistance problem? Hope to hear your thoughts live.