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Agile Adoption, Part 3 – What do we do?

Learn why you should adopt agile in Part 1 of this blog series and how to get started in Part 2.

So, you have decided to take the plunge and go agile…but what should you do to make it happen? Here are a few common scenarios, as well as the challenges associated with each one.


Wing it (have everyone read a book and be ready to go agile on Monday).
Not recommended. To be clear, I think that reading about agile is a great way to learn more and figure out if it is something that might work for you. I also believe that people learn best by doing, so being able to jump in and going with agile is great. But the problem with doing it on your own is that it can be overwhelming. People usually try to do everything new at once, and then get discouraged when it is too much. Additionally, if everyone is new to agile then it is hard to tell when something is just a normal bump in the road, or a sign of something more serious, because you don’t have the experience to know what to expect from an agile transition.

Go to training (better)
Starting with training is a great way to get everyone on the same page, and to make sure that you have a common vocabulary when it comes to agile, as well as a common understanding of what it means for your organization. This approach can work very well if you train the whole team, including the product owner and any stakeholders from the business. Jump-starting a new agile project with training can get things off to a great start. The challenge comes when you work to implement what you learned at the training, and things don’t go as expected. This is when people start to blame agile and say that it won’t work for your organizations. That’s why I recommend option #3.

Bring in a coach (recommended, but not just because I am one)
Bringing in an expert can help for several reasons. They have had experience with a variety of companies, and are aware of the common pitfalls, as well as what to do about them. Second, the coach can be the voice of authority. Sometimes people won’t listen to someone inside the company, but they will listen to an expert. Enlist your coach to help with those who need convincing. Finally, people do better when they have a support system. Like training to run a marathon or losing weight with a nutritionist, working with someone who specializes helps to set you up for success.

Now that you have some ideas of how to get started with agile, in my next post I will tackle some of the common points where things go wrong.