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Archive for November, 2008

When Agile Projects Go Bad by James Turner

Great article, James. It was good to see you go straight to the source (the manifesto signatories) for this topic. What strikes me as so odd is that agile methods are essentially predicated on their opposition of the prescriptive waterfall method, but, time and again, teams want a checklist to help them begin using agile. Of course, the consequence is that teams blindly follow the prescribed steps, but don’t fully digest the ideas that inform them. And when that happens, they’re no longer using agile to enable productivity and collaboration, but allowing it to become a potential impediment. Agile techniques seem so rooted in common sense, but, then again, I suppose that assumes that most individuals have any to begin with. [Read Full Article]

Agile Waters

Here’s an interesting article that portrays the challenges an agile transformation entails very honestly. There are still many depictions of agile as a kind of silver bullet, but, in Beckwith’s story, she consciously describes the hard work required to successfully reorient the way an organization does business. First off, she identifies the best candidates for a Scrum transformation as those organizations that have historically been early adopters of cutting edge technology. While that’s not the only indication, the sentiment is dead-on. Adopting a radically different project management methodology is not for those who would prefer to stick with the status quo. It takes some guts to embrace change. Likewise, Beckwith is right to point out how change of this order is often met with a widespread “culture clash.” For many, change is threatening and a natural response is to resist participating in that transformation. That issue is also one of the most difficult for organizations to address. I’d be curious to read Beckwith’s thoughts on how to minimize a cultural backlash when implementing agile. [Read Full Article]