Agile is a reusable and, for most part, a transplantable strategy. It's easy to replicate, simple to understand and well socialized. It is comforting to those who have successfully adopted it. Yet, to others it is elusive, at best. The discrepancy between adoption rate and success rate is stark.
- Its rigor is almost an asperity to some,
- The "just do enough" philosophy seems counter intuitive to software "engineering", and
- Its lightweight nature makes the optics of Agile ad-hoc.
- Connect team's vision with the corporate vision and tie team members' aspirations to the vision. This would answer the question, "What's in it for me?". Managers should complement the Scrum Masters in ensuring that they clearly communicate to team members what they stand to gain from the transition and the skills they'd build.
- Next up, I'd recommend an old trick that works most of the times. Stop selling Agile. Instead, start asking why Agile would not work. Ask it often and induce people to think about it. Focus their attention on Agile as much as possible.
- Teach people something about Agile at every opportunity you can find. Remember, focus is power, expectation shapes reality, and attention density shapes identity. Use the powerful conduit of education (conferences, guest speakers, etc.) as a means to persuade. A word of caution here though. There's a stark difference between education and training. Don't undercut your returns by mere training people; it won't last long. To create an environment of learning and bring a lasting change engage industry experts who see themselves as instruments of cultural indoctrination as opposed to just trainers.
- There always are some who don't absolutely embrace new concepts and systems. Then there are also a few who just don't get it; like I don't get Quantum Physics. Find these people something else to do. Get the ones who understand and are passionate about Agile on your teams. Yes, teams are formed; they don't happen by chance. Don't be timid about team formation. This is a controversial thought employed too often and creates havoc for so many careers. More on it in later post(s).
- Don't go piecemeal with Agile Adoption on a project. There's no such thing as setting up the right Agile management structure (Scrum) first and then introducing the engineering practices (if at all on a project). This will frustrate people and signal a half-hearted and fearful leadership style.