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Why AGILE fails?

Spasoje Jesic January 5, 2021

I am reading some posts, discussions, articles and a lot of articles are "Why agile fails", "when agile fails" 

I need help because for me agile does not fail, it only is not suitable for some projects. What is happening? :)

Agile frameworks are various, flexible, and compatible frameworks for some project, for some they are not. Working on an energetic, ngo, software development projects, agile never failed. 

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Rajesh Viswanathan
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January 5, 2021

In my experience Agile doesn't got failed in software industry , it made to move in to High performing team and customer are more happy than earlier approaches .   

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Spasoje Jesic January 5, 2021

Yeah, I totally agree with you in that case. 

Nic Brough -Adaptavist-
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January 5, 2021

I see it fail mostly when

  • It is used for a project that it does not suit (broadly speaking, this would be stuff that does not readily break down into small individual pieces and cannot benefit from the negative feedback loops that the iterative approach brings to bear)
  • Management does not buy into it properly - either they don't want to do it, they're stuck in their ways, they don't understand it, or they just yell "be agile because we've been told it's better" and walk away.  They have to understand it, be involved, and be supporting it and pushing for it to be done.  At every level.
  • The people doing it don't understand it properly, and start to neglect the parts they're not doing properly, hence drifting into a totally broken process, often a waterfall one with nothing but a sheen of agile language so they can lie to the management and tell them they are

Most of the articles I've read on Agile failures have all sorts of interesting reasons expounded in them, but when I think about them, most come down to "well, we didn't understand this part of it, so we didn't do it".

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Jessamy Carruthers
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January 5, 2021

Yeah I agree with this. In my experience it's not Agile itself that fails, but more that companies and individuals can fail to understand or buy into the principles. It takes a pretty significant cultural change reorient a waterfall company to Agile. It changes power dynamics and career trajectories, and may require letting go of long-term employees who are highly placed in the company.

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Bill Sheboy
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January 5, 2021

Hi @Spasoje Jesic 

I am unclear what you mean by "fail"; perhaps didn't achieve what was believed possible.  If so, I have observed these cases:

  • Organization/leader has existing challenges creating, communicating, supporting, and holding people accountable for expectations
  • Organization has no "North star", leading to localized improvements in different directions than "North"
  • A leader went to a conference, got a great free lunch from a vendor, and then decided there was a "silver bullet" tool/training/consultancy to solve the organization's challenges without any hard work or impacts
  • Time takes time, and people become impatient with the idea of small experiments to improve, slipping back into prior methods
  • "Not invented here" challenges, and the variation...
  • People on teams learn about an idea/practice and modify it before trying it as planned the first time, at least once, often leading to entertaining "Company X Brand Scrum", "Our Beyond Kanban", etc.  And then, blaming the idea/practice when it doesn't provide the expected results.

 

Best regards,

Bill

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Carlos Garcia Navarro
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January 9, 2021

Hi @Spasoje Jesic , My experience is very similar to what I've read in previous comments.  The perception of Agile failing comes when it wasn't used properly, or when a flavor of Agile wasn't really a good fit.  I have seen teams using Scrum when Kanban was a better fit because of the amount of support tickets and unplanned work that came their way.  Also, while software development projects see big improvements with the use of Scrum, Kanban or other variations of Agile, hardware projects seem to have a harder time due to dependencies with vendors and other teams that may not be using Agile methodologies. I've also experienced that the introduction of scale agile processes (like SAFe) have helped teams and companies that wanted to keep some waterfall-like processes while letting their teams be agile.

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Marshall Walker Lee
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January 25, 2021

In my experience, Agile can (and often does) fail because teams are unable or unwilling to be transparent and vulnerable when it comes to their work items. 

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anowak February 7, 2021

I don't thing that a agile methodology is failing. It's the company not endorsing it fully, or the team not embracing it, or other problems with product/project itself.

Secondly, a weak team will still be a weak team - Agile might help to make it a better team, BUT Agile is not a silver bullet.

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Malik Waqas
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March 11, 2021

I don't thing that a nimble approach is coming up short. It's the organization not underwriting it completely, or the group not accepting it, or different issues with item/project itself.

Also, a feeble group will in any case be a powerless group - Agile may assist with making it a superior group, BUT Agile is certifiably not a silver projectile.

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