Though it has spread rapidly from engineering departments into marketing, finance and so on, a lot of companies continue to be averse to this technology.
There are even some managers who would claim to have adopted agile, but when you inspect deeper, you realize that it’s far from the truth, and they aren’t using agile at all. A lot of this has to do with issues at multiple levels of the organization, which is why though many companies intend to go agile, they simply fail to do so.
Usually, in larger organizations, the issue is mostly centered at the middle management level. For example, there is often a term used in management called ‘50% dedicated’. This is basically managers refusing to dedicate people to a single project. This is not practical for agile users, as the methods usually involve two-week sprints, during which they are required to create “potentially shippable” products. For this, team members have to control of their time, and if they can’t, it undermines the team-trust factor which underlies the agile philosophy. As such this opens up the system to unforeseeable dependencies.
Agile is also an incredibly democratic process which demands transparency. A culture of honest feedback needs to put in place to tackle the unspoken hurdles that might be hindering the team. Or if individuals are unhappy with certain dynamics, those need to be surfaced and dealt with. These factors are mostly disregarded by most organizations or they are simply not comfortable with the type of openness that is demanded of them.
There is also a factor called corporate anxiety which hampers the transition. Customers, these days, want to be part of a brand’s evolution and not be regarded as passive stakeholders. Agile facilitates this approach, as its methods are meant to create the thinnest possible slice of the product and place it in hands of the customers to check and validate the assumptions made. This is often not an approach middle management understands and they prefer to stick to conventional methods.
Companies need to realize that agile is a process in which they continuously learn and improve. For which they require flexibility, patience and an openness to collaboration between self-organizing and cross-functional teams.