Get These Factors Synched for Agile Success

Posted on October 08, 2019
Get These Factors Synched for Agile Success

Organizations today are changing at rates not seen before. Re-organization and re-structuring happen at an increasing pace, and often undo previous initiatives.

Changes come as a result of an organization bouncing from one “trend” or “buzzword” to another, in search of the next big thing that might help overcome problems and improve performance.

It is time to stop looking for “silver-bullet” solutions and focus on root causes, and begin treating them in a sustainable, comprehensive way. For example, when adopting Agile, organizations must ensure that it is not done in isolation. The various “gears” in the organization need to be synchronized. Adopting the Agile approach requires alignment and context that goes beyond the Agile practices of just the basic team. Several conditions should be considered simultaneously:

  • Organizational agility: proper turnaround and response times and alignment between the project and the organizational needs
  • Project sponsorship: meaningful and sufficient involvement by the sponsor to enable the benefits of agile across the organization
  • Managers and stakeholders: alignment that includes a consistent sense of urgency across portfolios, collaboration and cross-initiative planning
  • Organization: considerations around capacity management and prioritization, along with streamlining communication practices
  • Managing change: realizing that incorporating Agile practices, even within one project, introduces change into the organization that if not handled properly, may send shockwaves across the organization

Few organizations, regardless of industry or sector, do all these things; fewer still do them right. As a result, they struggle to meet their goals and objectives. For a move to Agile methodology to be effective, the above factors need to be addressed in a coordinated way, with project and change management merged into one effort. Only a holistic approach will consistently do the trick.

Having a negative impact is the growing trend of reducing labour costs by hiring individuals that fall short in relevant work experience, training, or alignment with the organizational culture. While these individuals’ skills and knowledge are not in question, it often takes them longer to adapt and to become contributing members. The prescription for this is stronger organizational alignment and better guidance from managers and sponsors.

These concerns can work against each other and hinder an organization’s ability to meet their goals and objectives. Addressing them in an integrated fashion is the key to success.


The topic of this article is derived from the curriculum for the Schulich ExecEd program the The Senior Manager’s Guide to Implementing Practical Agile (Runs Nov. 13-15, 2019).

This three-day Agile training program aims to equip leaders and managers with the skills and knowledge required to run Agile projects successfully.