The Common Mistakes That Companies Make While Moving Into The Agile Orbits

The abundance of benefits and great flexibility are pushing the companies to implement an agile framework in software delivery and business environments with a big-bang transformation. However, the IT leaders from large enterprises to small-medium sized businesses struggle to integrate agility across the business, avail the dynamic opportunities and resolve the challenges coming to the fore.

Besides, the common myths such as agile give instant benefit, require no documentation, needs no planning, achievable just as reading a book and little-to-no design or architectural thinking about Agile Manifesto, creates much confusion and have become common knowledge over time.

These misconceptions diminish the success of agile projects. But, the primary reason behind the abject failure is the upper-level leaders’ lack of support, their unawareness, or a little understanding of the agile development. Although absentee management and leadership misconception are blamed for hindering agile success, the previous years have witnessed the agile initiatives were mastered by the executives.

In a nutshell, the whole story of agile goes like this:

Mr. CEO read or hear about the wide spectrum of advantages that agile adoption brings to the business workflow and processes execution. Realizing the significance of methodology, he straps the agile framework onto the technology team and tells them to make it so without feeling a need for their role. The different teams based on their distinct agile understanding, implementing agile. The CEO or upper-level leaders ignorance messes up the project that ultimately leads to failure or near-failure.

It emerges a few questions: Why CEOs don’t realize their part to play? How the management goes wrong in making business agile? How they sense which touchpoints requiring a silver bullet agile change? What are the things missing in their approach that makes agile adoption slow or not able to get important things done? Why nearly no change appears in the efforts they fund in the agile adoption? A lot more…

The answer lies in the poor understanding of a couple of things by the leaders and development team that are not letting them make it right.

The key points where the IT leaders or CEOs misfires which make agile implementation awry:

  • Agile is a technical concern

Generally, the agile transformation starts with hiring a technical talent with agile experience as the development team is the greatest asset to the company who will implement every strategy with agile in mind. Investing biasedly just on agile talent hiring will bring the deliverables on the top of the table, which does not stand up to the par.

Also, the dependencies that the development team has on other organizational elements such as architectural authority, and other teams will not resolve, and bringing the significant changes to the way business conducted seems complicated.

In addition to the development team, transforming the management level from the old-school control-and-command style to coach-and-collaboration style with agile is all-important to bring in gala changes across the enterprise.

  • The Agile coach will drive the agility organization-wide

When an agile transformation is announced, the employees see two opposite forces- the lean agile practice with flyweight techniques and heavyweight enterprise with an established way of doing things, which muddies the water.

Here, the company realizes the need for an agile coach who provides a way of agile working that matches or configured to the enterprise way of working. The agile coach is thought to be another manager who brings the agile secret sauce and enable the projects successfully accomplished in a ‘quick and cheap’ way.  But, it’s a vast knowledge gap and resistance gap that needs to be bridged by upper-level executives.

The agile coach can train the employees for the tactical, operational and strategic aspects of agile change, but the agile mindset can only be created when senior executives and management level persona effectively consider their roles and responsibilities to ride an agile change initiative.

  • The Agile transition is a piece of cake

After reading the principles of Agile manifesto, executives find agile implementation is a breeze that requires just bringing new tools to the development space and it takes a couple of days to get agile incorporated.

The agile integration into the enterprise DNA means there will be a massive shift in the enterprise from top to bottom, from upper-management to executives to the entry-level developer, their roles, their approaches, and a lot more.

Also, the agile transformation is not a matter of providing training, getting a certification, buying agile project management tool or hiring a trainer because to reap the plethora of agile benefits require a complete shift from a traditional waterfall approach to the agile mindset of transparency, collaboration, and continuous improvements.

Going agile may bring a handful of the advantages at the initial stage, but to tap the full potential of agile, it takes months to years to apply the agile and grow holistically.

  • Agile is a game of speed play

For senior executives, agility offers value in terms of executing the project swiftly and cost-efficiently. And, for middle managers under the constraints of time and budget, the agility is a means of eliminating the pain-point of completing the project faster and cheaper. But, in truth, agile is a magical ingredient of successfully executing the complex app development processes in uncertain environments.

This mindset leads to the app development that full of flaws if the quality aspect is not considered serious. The executives should avoid keeping ‘faster and cheaper’ terms in the agile discussions, prioritize value-driven development, promote transparency and sustainable pace over queues and batches, and favour incremental iterations to build the right software at the right time.

What’s the path to agile success?

These mistakes hinder not just agile adoption, but agile transformation. The score of failure will increase unless the executives won’t ready to leave the desk, see what’s happening in the company and change themselves to make the agile transformation the top priority.

Are you ready to learn and adapt, get involved, embrace and foster, and change organizational culture and management attitudes towards agile? If so, reading the next few tips will justify your time investment and future agile enhancements.

  • Agile implementation is not all about following processes and framework, or agile talent, instead, it’s about bringing transformation in the development and all the practices that relate to development across the whole enterprise. 
  • Landing the responsibility for agile change on the feet of the agile coach won’t bring successful outcomes unless the top-level executive involve themselves in the agile transformation and take responsibility for managing agile success instead of passing onto others.
  • Implementing, practising, and realizing the benefits of agile doesn’t happen overnight. Making the team learn and apply agile, and quickly and thoroughly respond to the changes that agile bring takes a while. Be ready for the time and efforts that agile transformation demands.
  • Going agile doesn’t indicate the applications can be churned out quickly, rather it’s about developing the application that’s user-ready and stay current with the user’s preferences with incremental experiments. Speed is a killer, but when it exceeds the limit, it can kill the application. 

Wrap up

Agile success is the endeavour of upper-level management, senior executives, development team, and coach where every person is equally accountable for the great value and world-class experience that the project delivers to the customers.

When upper-level managers abdicate the responsibility, think agile change is technical, delegate the agile responsibility to agile coach, agile change is executed as another program, agile is misunderstood as a way of speedy delivery, and agile integration is considered as plain-sailing, then bringing the wind of agile-change across the enterprise is out of the question.

So don’t hate agile because you don’t understand it rightly. Rather embrace it, empower change, be okay with failure, resolve organization impediments to agile change, and transform correctly, in addition to not repeat the same mistakes again. Later, you will undoubtedly find that agile works and add value. Good luck!

Guest article written by: Avantika Shergil, Twitter:, Linkedin:, Website:  — Bio: An enthusiastic Operations Manager at, coordinating and managing the technical and functional areas. She is an adventure lover, passionate traveller, an admirer of nature, who believes that a cup of coffee is the prime source to feel rejuvenated. Researching and writing about technology keeps her boosted and enhances her professional journeying.

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