By Puk Falkenberg, 28. January 2019
I recently had the pleasure of working with an organization that wanted to implement agile across the organization. The development team was already using Scrum as agile practice, but the rest of the organization didn’t know the first thing about agile practices. We realised that the tension between the two parts of the organization could be eliminated by nurturing an agile mindset across the organization.
With research showing (a) that organizations can benefit from spreading agile practices throughout the entire organization, and (b) that organizations that are Agile Masters have reported 60% higher revenue and are 2.4 more likely to grow over 20% than their peers, we had nothing holding us back from implementing agile ways of working and mindsets through the whole organization (hbr.com).
A hypothesis could be, that organizations think, that while agile practices started within software development it must be easier to implement in this part of the organization. However, as Prosci shows in a study: 60% of agile teams report tension with command-and-control management styles.
This to me indicates that those organizations who only go agile “half-heartedly” also create – unintentional – tension between teams and therefor miss out on the measurable advantages of implementing agile practices across the organization. An organization can only be as agile as the least flexible team or mechanism. Classic bureaucracy plays a role here too, as a hindrance.