deal with critical situations where success literally means survival for the firm (and of course everyone involved, as well). Many of the early work in agile describes saving projects (and companies) heading for disaster.
What makes it difficult??
Agile practices are difficult because they are often counter-intuitive and they require a huge leap of faith. Becoming agile is a journey. When I used to go into NYC to visit my ophthalmologist, I had to navigate Fifth Avenue with a white cane and my acute sense of hearing. Helping teams improve the way that they do software development is not without its challenges, risks and certainly rewards, as well. Organizations that fail to realize that self-managed teams do better work have a hard time reaching agility. Organizational politics and a lack of senior management support can make it very difficult to achieve agility?
What can make it easier?
Having a few successes makes it a little easier by helping you build momentum. Of course, networking with colleagues and hearing their own success stories certainly can help pave the way. As a blind person, I had a ferocious commitment to everything that I attempted – I had no choice. Similarly, a complete commitment and support from the organization helps to achieve success. In an interesting way, necessity can make the journey easier. When organizations see no alternative, then they often commit and achieve great results from their efforts.
What are some of the danger signs to look for along the way?
The biggest danger sign is a lack of commitment and buy-in from all stakeholders. Having a senior member of the team resisting the new approach, can mean trouble. You need to make sure that you manage expectations and relationships to maximize support for your efforts.
Lean practices such as eliminating waste, amplifying learning, postponing decisions to the last responsible moment, delivering as fast as possible, self managed teams, building integrity in from the beginning and seeing the big picture are all key Lean Principles. Deciding as late as possible is one of those counterintuitive issues that also require a leap of faith. There are often decisions that need to be made and you may not have all of the information that you need until you are already very much into the project lifecycle. Instead of making the wrong decision, postponing key decisions until the last responsible moment may frequently turn out to actually be the most prudent approach?
What doesn’t work?
Heavy processes, task switching, and a lack of team commitment can spell disaster for any project. Getting tunnel vision and failing to see the big picture are other risk factors that often can result in failure?
Where can I seek help?
Why, here, of course. We are always glad to share best practices in terms of what works and what doesn’t and we hope that you will share your own best practices as well!
Agile and lean fit together and can result in right-sized processes that simultaneously help deliver both enhanced quality and increased productivity. You need to follow these principles and work to improve your own processes for success!