Managers Don’t Hate Agile
Whilst I get my head into gear regarding my New Hope, here’s a brief post on the typical reaction to Agile from managers.
Managers don’t hate Agile. At least, before they come into contact with it in their organisations. Before contact, they mostly have no opinion on it. The few who have taken the trouble to read about it generally perceive it as a somewhat desirable thing. A WIBNI. It seems marginally attractive and benign, not least because there are so few articles, stories, etc. describing the pitfalls.
So, most managers who adopt Agile, or have to adopt it via edicts from higher up, are woefully ill-prepared for the consequences. Sooner or later, it starts to dawn that to do agile “properly” has far-reaching implications, both for the organisation outside the development teams, and for themselves personally. The lion’s share of these implications are not attractive.
Consequently, the precepts of agile, unknown at the outset, but becoming clearer as news begins to come in, get watered down to point where they become non-threatening. And in the process, become non-viable, too. The baby is discarded with the bathwater, lip-service is paid to “being Agile”, and things return to the status quo.
Of course, this sticks in the craw of any who want Agile to succeed – developers and testers, mainly. Being far from the gemba (a.k.a. the coalface, where the work is happening), those who first stipulated the Agile adoption have little alternative but to believe that:
- The Agile adoption is going well (until it becomes obvious it is not).
- The fault for ultimate failure lies with Agile itself, rather than the managers’ undermining of it.
- The departure of disillusioned talent – developers and testers, mainly – is just “natural wastage”.
So, managers don’t hate Agile. Most are utterly indifferent to it. Many just come to ignore it, once its nature becomes understood. And a very, very few come to embrace it as a good thing.