Reasons for the Failure of Agile in Organization

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Reasons for the Failure of Agile in Organization

Here's what they didn't tell you about implementing an Agile transformation.

· Agile Zone ·
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We often talk about Agile and its benefits in an organization. Everybody knows that using Agile will bring a lot of long-term benefits which can be related to profit, better team, better quality of software, and lot more. Do we ever wonder, though, what the success rate of Agile projects is, and why Agile projects fail?

1. Lack of Management Support

Agile cannot be implemented without the support of management. Let’s discuss two different organizational scenarios for management support in detail:

Service-Based Organization

These organizations work on the principle of client satisfaction. And due to customer demand of development of the project through the Agile methodology, management accepts the development of the project in Agile methodology. Sometimes not much support is provided to actually implement Agile to reap the long-term benefits of Agile as the mindset is based on immediate and short-term profit margins rather than long-term benefits of Agile. This case is on the service-based organizations which have not implemented Agile earlier and are working on their first project on Agile.

Product-Based Organization

In product-based organizations, the focus is on immediate or sudden deliveries rather than quality. The market in product is so competitive that teams have to make products overnight while keeping quality high. Management has to make decisions on these type of abrupt releases as these may only lead to further loss rather than profits because it may impact the working of existing products. Personally speaking, product-based organizations is a perfect fit for Agile implementation due to long term vision of a product. But again management plays an important role in Agile implementation. Whole organization from top to bottom should have an Agile mindset. Everybody should support the Agile implementation.

2. Lack of Implementation at a Team level 

This is the most critical step to implement. Again, two scenarios arise based on the organizational structure.

Service-Based Organization

Team members feel uncomfortable and reluctant to follow Agile principles and rules to induce in their development work. They don’t like to introduce processes in their daily work which creates transparency and daily update of progress. This happens due to the easy and long release dates of delivery as agreed with the client. Rather than implementing on regular basis, people like to work hard nearing the delivery dates with their own ease.

Product-Based Organization

Due to immense market pressure, releases are deployed on an immediate basis which leads to broken functionality of existing product. This leads to low patience level of the team working on it. Slowly they deviate from an Agile way of working to abrupt release deployments and adapt to this way of working. In this type of working environment, you cannot implement Agile completely and if implemented, it comes with some level of dissatisfaction.

3. Lack of Proper Training

This applies to both service and product-based organization. If proper training for transformation is not given to team, we cannot achieve the overall purpose. We have to share the complete vision with teams while transforming. Training should be aligned from top to bottom of an organization and goals should be aligned accordingly.

4. Lack of Management Reviews of Agile Metrics

It is very important to maintain the discipline of what is done, what we are doing, and what we will achieve. To maintain this, metric review is very important. This should happen after every sprint and whole management should be involved in it to know the improvements done or to be done. Generally, this step is skipped in most organizations, which leads to Agile implementation failure. Metrics which usually are discussed are related to story completion ratio, velocity trend, agility, commitments, the percentage of requirement change in the sprint and retrospective action items (percentage completion) and initiatives, if any.

5. Lack of Clear Communication

No organization will become Agile if it lacks in communicating clearly with its people. So the most important reason which has been practically proven to be the failure of Agile is unclear or miss-communication. The same information should be cascaded from the top to the bottom of the organization without any manipulation. We have to create the transparency first and then have to maintain it to make an organization Agile.

6. Lack of a Skilled Scrum Master

Prevailing Agile creates a lot of opportunities to be a Scrum Master in the organization. The only set back organizations are facing is non-availability of skilled Scrum Masters. In most of the organizations, managers are playing the role of Scrum Master which takes time to change their mindset or may not even change over time. This general practice is leading to the failure of Agile in most organizations as a manager cannot think as a skilled Scrum Master due to the different type of work and pressures on him to achieve.

7. Lack of Correct Appraisal Process

There is no such appraisal process as of now which will support the implementation of Agile successfully. While appraisals, we still depend upon the old processes which do not do just with Agile teams. Like so many methodologies coming upon on regular basis, we should develop an appraisal process according to Agile development. This will help in actually implementing Agile in an organization successfully. At the time of appraisal, each member of the team starts working as an individual which ruins the essence of being Agile.

8. Attrition Rate Effects

Sometimes this also becomes a hindrance in implementing Agile in an organization. The reason is the movement of resources from the organization who get trained in Agile methodology over the time of transition and inclusion of new resources who are not well-versed on Agile development. It will again take time to train and coach them to work on Agile and change their mindset. Sometimes it also happens that some of the resources who don’t prefer to change their working habits also leave the organization. However, this cannot be negative every time as you cannot create an Agile team unless the mindset of people is Agile.


If we keep a check on the above points and maintain the discipline, a perfect Agile team and organization is created which brings you long term benefits and short term profits. Only time and discipline is the key to achieve agility of an organization. Although the journey of transformation is long, nothing is impossible.

agile adoption ,agile benefits ,agile challenges ,agile implementation ,metrics ,scrum master

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