I have on occasion described the benefits of keeping an Agile team from intimate contact with the rest of the organisation as like “wrapping the team in a condom”.
Why would we wish to do this? Surely intimate contact is a good thing? Fnarr.
The answer lies in the idea of organisational cognitive dissonance. This is the feeling of unease, even pain, that comes from an organisation having two conflicting world-views in play (inside its collective consciousness) at the same time.
For example, a successful Agile team within a more traditional organisation. An organisation that we might call “Analytic-minded”.
Keeping the two world-views (Synergistic and Analytic) apart by some artificial barrier, like a metaphorical condom, can delay both the onset and severity of organisational cognitive dissonance. We can see this idea of separation, too, in the idea of the “skunk-works“, such as at Lockheed Martin.
Sometimes this can buy more time, time to spread the agile adoption beyond the team. Sometimes it’s no more than a coping strategy.
And of course it’s no substitute, in the long term, for a transition of the whole organisation to e.g. synergistic principles.
But it can serve to protect the team and the organisation both, from cross-infection of world-views, and the almost inevitable dissolution that typically follows.