Whilst the general feel of the numbers (and indeed the feel across a lot of organisations with large IT departments) seems to be that Agile thinking has gathered mainstream awareness; the Agile world still seems to report the same challenges with mainstream acceptance, year after year.
This seems somewhat peculiar for a movement which prides itself on its ability to adjust and improve at regular intervals.
A look at some results.
- Company philosophy or culture at odds with core agile values at 42%
- Lack of management support at 38%
- Lack of support for cultural transition at 36%
- Tension between Scrum teams and the wider organisation at 71%
Because I still needed my fix, I thought that I’d flip to the other side and look at it from that other bastion of survey data - CIO surveys. Interestingly enough, a few problems seem quite familiar -
- The core message from CIO.com's 2015 survey indicated that the business and IT functions have differing views on the value of IT to the organisation.
- Harvey Nash's research indicates that 63% of CIOs think their relationship with Operations teams are very strong - however, all other departments lag far behind in terms of relationship strength.
- Gartner's three value leadership 'flips' or shifts in thinking suggested by their 2015 CIO survey:
- efficiency to value creation
- business case to benefits life cycle
- hit and hope to platform value
Looking at Gartner's points - Agile is all about value creation. A well nurtured backlog can deliver value for years on end, and - as the most popular Agile ‘methodology’ - Scrum provides a systematic way for better experimentation.
So, why are we still struggling to influence (even if only indirectly) areas screaming out for change where Agile can most definitely be part of the answer?
There are many paths.
Agile is an enabler for organisations to be great, but Agile principles in isolation still don't solve competitive strategy, customer experience, financial growth, cyber security or the breadth of other things that affect an organisation and its culture.
Culture is a complex construct, where, amongst other things, language, behaviour and philosophy regularly collide, with interesting (and frustrating... and every now and then, amazing) results. Given Agile is a mixture of the above; when we speak to others about Agile, when we are being Agile, and when we project our beliefs - what is the message we give out, and how does might this clash with that of others?
What can we do about it?
Another year and another survey with the same statistics and same problems being reported on might indicate stagnation for a movement which has made much great progress in changing organisations for the better.