When some leaders share what they know about agile, they speak about speed, sprint, backlog, releases, velocity, and so on, and believe these automatically translate into organizational agility. But because awareness and experience lack, it becomes challenging for them to understand the real approach. And by lacking the knowledge, it’s easy for them to confuse providing information with imposing decisions.
That is the case of leaders that communicate continuous changes in functionalities while keeping the urgent deadlines. While some aspects are valuable for the team’s effectiveness and the project success, adding new layers of changes by imposing decisions, even with the best intention behind them, misses the agile practices, and fails to benefit from what agile delivers. One example is imposing the implementation of new, superficial, incomplete, partially developed/tested, or last-moment functionalities, which are not embedded into the product but delivered just for the satisfaction of one customer.
The more decisions are imposed, the more likely the product to become functionally unstable. Usually, this is the moment when the team starts cutting corners.
The cargo cult agile and the top down approach in decision-making affect the teams’ effectiveness and the project success
“Cutting corners as a response to the top-down approach in decision-making doesn’t work in the long run. The quality of the product starts decreasing, teams lose their motivation, customer satisfaction decreases, and there is a lack in delivery.” says Marius Podea. “It reveals a cargo cult agile, where the right things are said or done, but the core values are not understood.” adds Marius. “Teams should be empowered to work how they best see fit. Agreeing on a timeline is essential. Then, the teams work on and decide the best way to implement the project and to integrate the changes. Build projects around motivated individuals. With the right environment and support, trust them, they will get the job done.”
Empowering the teams supports the teams’ effectiveness and the project success
“Adopting agile goes beyond the teams’ way of working. Agile is more than concepts and ceremonies. It is about culture, a part of the organization’s being. That is why it comes with a blend of organizational and leadership transformation.”, closed Marius Podea.