I like to point out that Agile is going to look different from one company to another. In fact, it often looks different from one team to another. To get the most from an Agile transformation there needs to be freedom for the teams to adapt. This isn’t the whole story though.
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Just as humans must walk before they run teams must start along an Agile path before they can create their own trail. It’s a truth that has been known for ages among many specialties over time. The most common reference is to Shuhari. The basic premise is that you start by imitating what someone else does. You then progress to modifying it to better suit your situation. You end the end up as a master that can create new ways of doing on your own. This same logic applies to attempting an Agile transition in a company. Whether the pilot program or the last team on board the truth is the same. Continue reading
There is a lot of work being done on scaling Agile. This makes sense. There are few people anymore that will argue against Agile methods on a small-scale. The problem is that many organizations are not small. Plugging these small-scale changes into the greater organization can be difficult and often has mixed results.
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Any organization looking to scale needs to know why they want to scale. They need a plan to scale. They need a way to evaluate whether their transition is working.
A good way to think of what’s happening is by imagining a city skyline. Spreading Agile to all teams is equivalent to building more skyscrapers across the horizontal landscape. Scaling Agile in the organization is more like extending the existing skyscrapers higher in the vertical plane. The analogy isn’t perfect of course. Scaling will require more horizontal involvement and spreading will require a degree of vertical integration. The important part is the focus and most movement is in a different direction scaling than it is for spreading.