A Very Poor Bet: The Mandate of Agile Practices

Fact #1: Almost 100% of Agile adoptions are implemented as mandates. Ask almost anyone who has been party to a “rollout” of Agile in their organization. Ask them if it was presented as a mandate or not.

If you doubt this 100% figure, ask around. Read this post:

Imposing Agile Practices: Does It Actually Work?

The imposition of Agile practices is the one constant in most Agile adoptions in most organizations and has been for at least 7 years, around the time the “agile coach” role appeared on the scene. Right about the time Agile started getting popular! Right about the time Agile Manifesto signatory Martin Fowler warned against “the Agile Imposition”….

Fact #2: The general consensus is that Agile “sticks” in about 15% of the organizations where it is attempted. Ask any pro Agile coach and they will tell you, if they are honest. This is close to the actual number.

Fact #3: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

We keep doing that. Something has to give.

Martin Fowler, a Manifesto signatory in 2001, warned against this. In 2006! Here is the link:

The Agile Imposition

Imposing a process on a team is completely opposed to the principles of agile software, and has been since its inception. -Martin Fowler

Fact #4: Replacing that mandate with a sincere invitation, from authority, to experiment and learn…that seems to work. I have been experimenting for awhile with a new approach to Agile adoption, one that actually seems to work. It’s called Open Agile Adoption. You can learn more here:

Open Agile Adoption Explained