Fear not agile warrior, you are not alone and help is on the way. They are many situations where someone just knows that agile could help or even change the face of the entire company if utilized…yet someone or many people within an organization are opposed to the idea. So what should you do? First off what are some reasons someone would be against agile?
- The’ve been on a team where agile was used, and failed.
- They don’t know enough about agile or have misconceptions.
- They don’t believe agile is right for their organization/product.
- They’ve worked with an Agile Coach/Scrum Master/Consultant that was not very good at their role. Yes, not everyone does their job well…even in the wonderful agile community.
- They are from the past (I kid…I kid! That was an IT Crowd reference)
Now for the part you really came to this blog post for: What are ways I can help my organization adopt and/or support agile?
- Start emphasizing agile principles in whatever work you are doing. As a consultant that works on a wide array of projects with a variety of methodologies, I’m often tested with how to apply principles on a personal level. Getting out of the theoretical and nitty gritty practical application is a great exercise towards see if/how agile could work at your organization. If this is something you feel is “out of your league” or you just don’t have the time to do, it’s OK. There’s other ways to makes strides towards becoming more agile.
- Propose solutions to problems from an agile perspective but without using agile lingo. Some people are just turned off to agile terms and immediately roll their eyes when you say “backlog grooming” or “daily scrum”. But if you are able to problem solve using agile principles you could begin to win over even the harshest of critics.
- Create a mini scrum board for tracking your own work. I heard a story of a person who was trying to advocate for their company to adopt agile, and started doing a scrum wall in a shared space. Pretty soon scrum boards were up all over the company. Some were labeled “Inspiration wall” or “Wall of vision”. Everyone from IT to Sales was using them. Baby steps can be better than no steps, right?
- Contact consulting companies. See if they would be willing to share about agile within your organization. Some consulting companies will do this for free because it’s a great way for them to help your cause, as well as demonstrate their expertise in this area should you need their services down the road. Or see if they are willing to just share free resources with you.
- Join user groups and contribute to the agile community. There have been times where my primary daily function was far from an agile focus, but I was able to stay energized by attending local groups or writing blog posts in my personal time. Also, sometimes effective reflection comes when you are looking in from the outside.
- Find a new opportunity. (Please take this with a grain of salt as it’s just my opinion.) This for many reasons isn’t the first option anyone would like, but it may be the right solution. As the industry seems to be moving more and more towards adopting agile, it’s less likely that a company is just flat out rejecting agile. It could be that they proclaim to use agile but it’s very broken or dysfunctional. These kinds of situations can cause stress if you are a firm believer in the agile principles. But is the disappointment or stress consistently outweighing the rewards or satisfaction experienced? If yes, it may be time to look for new opportunities. Robbie Bach wrote a relevant article you may find useful called “Knowing When To Walk Away“
What about you? What advice would you have for someone in this scenario? I’d love to hear what other people have done or are doing.