One says that agile is easy to understand but difficult to deploy, and your reporter has seen plenty of examples recently to prove this point.
I have been very fortunate to teach a number of agile courses recently, and the location (different countries) and different student groups has been an interesting source of contrast. One can group the main topics into three main camps:
* Agile and the lack of change management
* Agile is wrong for us, and I need evidence why this is the case
* Agile and the neglect of the cross-functional team
Within one of my courses, I had participants who were already agile practitioners. Regardless, they felt they were ‘doing something wrong’ because the manual they read promised much happier results, and they were continuously experiencing a disconnect with various parts of the organization. Within this camp, the problem was not agile, but rather the lack of change management tied to agile deployment. This group is to be pitied as they feel responsible for elements clearly outside their control.
Now for the adherents of the agile counter reformation. I can never comment on the viability of agile within an organization. After all, a framework is a framework is a framework, and the way agile is deployed needs to be based on a number of factors, including corporate maturity, transparency, and acceptance. If you have a waterfall kind of business, perhaps agile is not right for you. One viable question one should as is what problem is being addressed, or are you drowning in a sea of symptoms?
Lastly, there is a plethora of reasons why cross-functional teams don’t work, but this clearly has noting to do with agile. Do departments even want to work together? If they don’t, then how is a cross-functional team supposed to work? Who holds the responsibility for the success of cross-functional teams? In these cases I’ve observed, agile was seen as being the problem, but the issue was much more deep-seated.
I hope my insight might help you in ensuring that you take on agile for all the right reasons.