Saturday, July 18, 2009

Need for the Right Person to Drive Agile Adoption

It is very important to identify the right person to drive Agile adoption in the organization rather than randomly choosing some senior person to drive it.

The reason being, Agile is all about
  • People
  • Being Flexible
  • Being Patient
  • Open for new ideas
  • Learning
Recently in one of the stories I heard, the CEO of a company who had been hearing a lot about Agile to adopt Agile in his organization. So, he decided to form an Agile Research Group to drive Agile adoption in the organization. He choose one of the senior most Vice Presidents(VP) to drive this, who in turn choose some senior and mid-level managers to start gathering info.

Just like any other company, the Agile core team started meeting weekly, they started the Agile discussion forum and started gathering as much information as possible.

After a month of starting this Agile group, the core team submitted their findings to this Vice president (VP). After few days the VP called the core team for a meeting and the team didn't believe what they heard from the VP.

Cutting a long story short, the VP didn't believe that there exists concepts like Iteration, Daily Stand up meetings, self organizing team, Iterative and Incremental development approaches. He didn't believe the reports submitted by the core team. In this case, the VP himself became hindrance to the Agile adoption.

This may not be the case in all the organizations, and it could be one "off" the case, however it is very important to choose the right person, especially when it comes to Agile adoption.

In another case study, the CEO of the company appointed a senior person from Quality group to drive Agile adoption. This Quality group head was coming from a strong CMM and Waterfall background. The team assigned to try Agile on a sample project used to read books, attend trainings and try the practices on their projects.
Many a times this Agile group failed in implementing the practices, but each time they failed the senior person driving Agile, used to tell them I told you Agile won't work kind of statements.
Such statements discourage the team. One has to remember that, It is normal that the team might fail while implementing new practices, and in such situations Patience is the key.

I believe that the following key attributes are needed in the person driving Agile Adoption

1. Good understanding and knowledge of Agile
2. Be open to new ideas
3. If the team fails in between, analyze the situation and encourage them rather than pushing them down
4. Trust the people around
5. Patience
6. Persistence

Remember that the wrong person in the right place not only could become bottleneck for the Agile adoption but also could lead to failure.

You could read this article also on Project Perfect blog

Have you come across such stories, you can share them here....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that a condition of success is to gather assistance from someone with experience with Agile adoption. Many organizations react first by trying to do all by themselves (often the case in IT department where introduction of new concepts is part of the job).

Knowing the theory, having good will and an open mind are not enough. When time will get though, having the right reflexes will be mandatory and it comes with the scars.