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Presentation: "We Suck Less!" Is Not Enough

In this presentation filmed during Agile 2008, David Douglas and Robin Dymond discuss about companies which try to adopt Agile, but don't go all the way, resulting in failure and rejection of it, and predictably having a negative impact on Agile's future.

Watch: "We Suck Less!" Is Not Enough (1h 25 min)

According to a study made by Forrester in 2007, cited by David, “Many of these shops (companies adopting Agile) aren’t completely clear about what Agile adoption really entails.” Many adopting Agile companies are happy if they are doing "OK", which means a 50% productivity improvement. They are not aware they can have a 500% increase in productivity. David says the bar is set very low if our Agile adoption motto is "We suck less".

David says the current perception of Agile in the market today is:

  • Superior to current practice
  • Set of tools (major financial services firm)
  • Cheap, easy, and runs on its own (medical manufacturing company)
  • Project solution

Agile should be perceived as:

  • An entire work system
  • Designed for 5x+ productivity gains
  • Requires organizational redesign
  • Requires significant change management

Robin continues by giving several examples of large corporations which started doing Scrum at some point, but returned to the old waterfall approach. According to Robin, an important factor in Agile adoption failure is organizational structure which is not matching the development process.

David predicts Agile adoption failure cases will grow in the future and will have a negative impact on Agile. He recommends the following actions to be takes:

  • Recognize we have a problem and begin collaborating on a solution
  • Be transparent about levels of Agility
  • Create a clear position on what is Agile
  • Measure and quantify productivity and speed
  • Put organizational design on the Agenda

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