Thursday, April 19, 2012

In the end, resistance is futile. Change or die.

Steve Denning has written a great post over at Forbes addressing some of the traditional management arguments against Scrum. His key point, I think.
"What’s wrong here is the corporate culture, not Agile. Surviving in today’s marketplace requires individual and team freedom. It translates into cross-functional work that is constantly adapting, with roles switching as needed. It also means adjusting processes continuously to reflect the current situation.
In Agile, processes are secondary to the requirements of the work. Bureaucracy is the opposite: the requirements of the work—and the customer—are secondary to the bureaucracy. Not surprisingly, firms in this mode do a poor job of meeting customers’ needs.
When the culture doesn’t fit Agile, the solution is not to reject Agile. The solution is to change the organizational culture. One doesn’t even have to look at the business results of firms using hierarchical bureaucracy to know that they are fatally ill. In today’s marketplace, they will need to change their culture or they will die. They need to become Agile."
Steve has a lot more to say, go read the whole thing. More and more we're finding that traditional managers have to make the transition to Agile and Scrum...if they don't they'll be left behind. At Scrum Inc. we're addressing it in two ways. First, Jeff has completely re-invented the Certified Scrum Product Owner course, this one is based on legendary fighter pilot John Boyd's OODA loop. He's teaching it for just the second time in Boston at the end of May. And we've developed leadership workshops that focus directly on executive teams.

What's become really clear is that management no longer has the luxury of saying that Agile is for others. The science speaks pretty loudly, waterfall projects fail at such a greater rate than agile products, over and over again, that if businesses that don't make that switch aren't going to be around in the end. As Steve puts it, companies have to "change their culture, or they will die."

1 comment:

Luke Winter said...

Are people really so resistant to ideas soley because they've emerged from the tech community? I'm

1) biased
2) doubtful

that others are wary of the geeks. It's common knowledge how big, powerful and productive tech powerhouses like facebook and google have become, very quickly. Traditional business MUST want to learn from that.

Thought provoking stuff, thanks for sharing.

Luke W
Community Manager