"Often, organizations fail to adopt agile methods for similar reasons, and many of these reasons are cultural. From checkbook commitment and lack of executive support to ineffective retrospectives and bad product ownership, this talk describes the 12 agile failure modes to avoid so you can succeed with your own agile transformation"
Andrew Sales is a regular speaker at agile events and contributor to the Agile Community:
- 2017 Gartner PPM Summit
- 2017 OOP Conference, Munich
- 2016 DevOps Connection, Paris
- 2016 Agile Alliance, Agile 2016, Atlanta
- 2015 RallyOn Europe, UK
- 2015 Agile transformations in large-scale and regulated environments, Leiden University
CA : Recognizing the 10 failure modes in agile transformation - by Andrew Sales
Recognizing the 10 Failure
Modes in Agile Transformation
Andrew Sales, Presales Director Agile Management, 29 January 2018
Learn how to avoid the most common pitfalls of agile transformation.
#1 Lack of
• Under the Radar – Eager employees
‘hide’ agile from those who might it
down. It’s sustainability is unlikely.
• Checkbook commitment – lack of
continual engagement lead to
pockets of agile success at best.
#2 Failure to
• Managers rely on a top-down
approach, driving projects forward
with little regard for input from the
• Manager tries to control the team
rather than serve the team.
#3 No Systemic
Changes to the
• Failed agile transformations suffer
from an inability to changes the
existing organisation structure.
• They zero-in on a specific team’s
performance at the expense of
• There is no view across the value
• Organisations are not tracking the
concept of cash-to-value through a
#4 No Built-In
• Scaling up poor engineering
practices leading to worse outcomes
and a unmaintainable code base.
• Struggling to build new features
alongside an ever increasing amount
of technical debt.
• Long release cycles at the end of a
phase of agile development.
• Poor infrastructure and lack of CI/CD
Integrate Code Early and Often
Drive down costs with automation
#5 Failure to
• Decision making control is seen as a
sign of authority.
• Due to this strict, centralized control,
decisions are not as informed as
they could be.
• Waiting for a decision wastes time
and human potential.
• This control style lowers moral.
• Geographic dispersion.
• Time zone differences.
• Rely on emails and long documents
• People are not brought together for
collaboration or training.
#7 Lack of A
• Think of your transformation akin to
• Have this person work closely with
the executive owner.
• Together they define disciplined
exploration and execution.
Outcomes, Goals and Activities
It’s Not the Plan That’s Important, It’s the Planning
#8 Failure to
• Clinging to the idea that a
transformation journey is predictable.
• One stet of standards and processes
for every team on the transformation.
• Limited time for continuous learning
• Focusing on IT is not truly
• Speeding up value delivery in IT may
be suboptimal for the Business.
• The biggest bottleneck may not be
within the IT teams.
Consider all Possible Inputs
The Solution May be Outside of IT
Input leads to
Continue to invest
Input leads to
Stop further effort
somewhere in this
Additional input is
causing a decrease