Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Why is Agile/Lean so tough?

I watched an excellent video by Ken Schwaber the other day regarding SCRUM.  Like all these things certain stuff just resonated with me…

One of the key points was how tough SCRUM was to implement and the relative poor success rate in implementing SCRUM.  The reason behind this is due to the tough questions that SCRUM highlights, my firm belief is that “Agile methodologies” like SCRUM, Kanban, etc do exactly this on the tin.  Highlight your problems – I recall a quote, “It’s like developing software in a room with all the lights full blast, compared to the dark room you’ve been sat in for last 5 years!”

People often see “Agile methodologies” as silver bullets – follow some simple rules and this will change your software development process for the better.  I mean what else could be simpler?  It will make you able to accept changing requirements late in the build process, build better quality and deliver faster.  The honest truth is that just following these simple rules won’t help your process.  The reason you’re looking for a change is usually because of the three reasons highlighted.  
  • You’ve got to accept that there are going to be some really tough questions that are highlighted.  
  • You’ve got to accept that you have to answer these questions to be successful.  
  • Only you can answer these questions, not anybody else.  
  • If you’re scared of answering tough questions and having tough conversations then do not engage with these “methodologies”.  Or if you do then be prepared to fail.  
  • So who is “you” – it’s everyone from the top to the bottom.
The answers to these questions will inevitably lead to change, and once again this change has to be done in the correct manner.  Embracing change, and ensuring that everyone is happy with the change is extremely hard to do – it needs time and effort from people.  It needs people to address people’s concerns, discuss why the change is better than the status quo.   

There are better articles about managing change at the following locations: