What if the enterprise won’t change? Is it worth it to have Agile teams?
I have long felt that certain parties in the Agile community are too quick to judge teams as not being agile because they are forced to function under less than ideal organizational structures. The mantra I was taught (and often repeated myself) was, “The leader is the limit.” Agile transformations will only be effective as far up and across the org chart as there is support from leadership. Does that mean agile transformations are not worthwhile to development teams if the entire organization is unable (or unwilling) to go through the necessary cultural change? In my experience, teams are better off working with an agile mindset, even if the rest of the organization does not understand the value of agile.
Agile Value in the Journey
Agile Value in Agility
What do teams gain from agility? Agility is the glue that holds the team together and helps them focus on the work at hand. They have the psychological safety to be transparent with each other about the work they are doing and how they can do that work more successfully, the flexibility to adapt to the customers’ needs, and the courage to engage in experimentation in order to find the simplest solution. Teams that work with an agile mindset enjoy creating quality products together…
…except for maybe the Product Owner and Scrum Master. They are the ones who have to interface with the non-agile parts of the company. They have to persuade the business to trust the team to get the work done, and keep the business from interrupting the team so that they CAN get the work done.
Agile Value in Team Transparency
The team needs to support the Product Owner and Scrum Master by being transparent about what they can do, and when they can get it done, along with having empathy for the PO and SM, since they are the ones addressing the panic and stresses management brings. When Product Owners and Scrum Masters are able to insulate teams from the pressures applied by the business, and the teams can deliver what they promise, a micro-culture of agility can exist within non-agile companies. Often, the organization will recognize that there is something different about how those teams conduct themselves, but will choose to leave them alone, because they provide so much value.
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