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Clear Up These Three Expectations of Agile Transition

Since “agile” implies speed right in the name, you could not judge someone too harshly for expecting agile transition to be quick and easy. But this and other reasons make it all the more important to manage expectations during the change. In a post at the Clever PM, Cliff Gilley pinpoints three particular misconceptions that you can clear up before they become a problem:

  • Agile transitions go quickly.
  • Agile means we get more, faster.
  • Agile is a cure-all for problems.

Soothsaying

Considering that transitioning to agile requires not just process change but also cultural change, it is not something that can be set up in an afternoon. It demands training for the development teams, and it also demands education for executives and other departments on how agile teams operate. Without properly educating outside parties, they will continue to treat agile teams like waterfall teams, and everyone will quickly become frustrated with each other. Due to these factors, Gilley believes there is no such thing as having a “fully agile” operation within just a few months; all you can do is ensure you are following the right procedures to get there eventually.

Next, the organization needs to be made to understand that agile will not hit a permanent fast-forward button on projects, nor will it quadruple product quality. All agile really does is help teams build products that are more aligned with what the business really needs. That means that, long-term, speed will probably increase due to eliminating risks of rework or wasted work. But it is not going to make everybody magically faster at working.

Incidentally, there are a lot of things agile in isolation cannot do. For instance, it will not by itself fix quality issues in software, or stop developers from overthinking software solutions. Gilley elaborates with this:

I can guarantee you that the list of things that Agile won’t fix is far, far longer than the list of things that Agile does fix.  Let’s be honest — if your company is dysfunctional at a very fundamental level, in any way related to or impactful upon your development teams, being Agile will enhance these dysfunctions, not dispose of them.  Contrary to what some people will try to convince you of, mostly because they want to sell you something, there is no silver bullet to solve your dysfunctions.

Temper expectations accordingly! You can view the original post here: http://www.cleverpm.com/2017/08/02/agile-transitions-managing-expectations/

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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