Agile implementation … incorporate lessons from non-software industries

Listening to various renowned leaders from non software, the following message resonated to me.

If you want to turn-around a company, you need to make sure that the solution comes from inside the company“.

Companies are formed from people coming from diverse cultures, which can bring insight and richness, provided they are engaged. To introduce changes, the employees should be engaged in designing them in the first place. Meaning, apart from how sound the advise from external consultants can be , it would not serve the purpose of change which is to achieve improvement. Strategy, though important, only weights a very low fraction in the whole percentage of success. The dominant weight to succeed in change initiative is “Execution”.

Execution is the ability to implement the idea for change and therefore realize organizational growth. Bringing the idea is important, but many organizations do have great ideas whilst they donot grow, because of their inability in “execution”.

If we compare this thinking to Agile implementation, we find that Agile is the strategy for the majority of companies, at least from my experience. But the ability to effectively manage the execution of implementing Agile is what differentiates a company which grows from the one which use Agile as a fad.

Shedding the light more, a company’s implementation of Agile is unique and may not be cloned from another one. This is regardless of how strong the similarity is with the company which we are imitating. Another view, an externally imposed Agile strategy can come as cookie-cuter solution from external consultant, which apart from how sound it is, it won’t work.

Taking this idea further, companies should discover their own Agile character. This discovery can happen only from within the company by engaging its employee. Hence, the employees create the plan for change, own it, implement the plan and be responsible in proving a measured success. This is a rationalization to the saying at the beginning of this post, “to turn-around a company changes need to come from within”.

Given Agile is the growth strategy, our role as Agile coaches is to assist the company in discovering its unique Agile vision. Introducing proven Agile strategy would not help because it didnot come from its employees.

3 thoughts on “Agile implementation … incorporate lessons from non-software industries

  1. Agile system development reforms the classical, at times pedestrian, approach of a lengthy analysis phase, followed by a lengthy specification phase, and then further sequentially organized and separate phases. Agile methods are useful for the development of specific system and for the development of software packages. These methods stemmed from frustration with the classical approach, which, though well defined, had a tendency to deliver something other than what was needed by the user.

    • Albert,

      Thank you for your comment and clarifying the value-add of implementing Agile. I’d like to add that the real-work for us as Agile consultants is to have structure that allows projects (preferably teams) to learn. For me, Learning trumps Delivery, which means embracing at the organizational level the mind-set of empiricism. It is organizational level commitment to enable this structure.


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