Agile people working in a non-agile world

Implementing an agile development frame work, such as Scrum, does not solve your company’s problems but helps identifies them. My current company has implemented the scrum agile management frame work. The initial results from the product mangers point of view have been quite interesting:
  • Various stakeholders gradually changing their behaviour as they record their required enhancements and bugs fixes in the product backlog rather than emailing the Product Manager and CC-ing half the company hoping that the long lists of people who have been copied on the email will somehow generate momentum to make it happen instantaneously.
  • An understanding from commercial stakeholders that there will be periodic releases and therefore new features and enhancements will be released within a set time frame.
  • Total transparency as groups of business and product owners meet each morning with the Product Manager and engineering teams to review commitments made the day before, discuss today’s commitments and identify impediments that stand in the way of the team delivering on commitments.

The implementation of an agile frame work had certainly helped in delivering software incrementally to the end users but has at the same time exposed a number of cross company issues and bottlenecks that could threaten return on investment (ROI).

Product Managers are agile managers: traditionally interfacing between the engineering team, various other technical teams and commercial/business stakeholders. Being in a pivotal position places them in the ideal place to act as exponents to change – assisting in changing a non-agile company into an agile one. This is especially true of Product Managers who have embraced an agile frame work, tasted the fruits of its success (in the software development life cycle) and now want to move the boundaries of agile working from beyond the engineering team(s) to other areas of the company. However such a programme whether formal or informal would require the full backing of chief executives who after all claim, according to a recent McKinsey survey on building nimble organizations, ranked agility as “very” or “extremely” important to their business success – with 91% stating that it had become more important for their companies over the past five years.

For more on this topic read the 1st half of : Think Big Think Agile Product Management


  1. >exposed a number of cross company issues and bottlenecks that could threaten return on investment (ROI).


    Could you please eleborate on those bottlenecks? May be a few examples? I would like to understand better what kind of problems you have to deal with and how you resolve them.


  2. I've just come across this blog - it relates well to this article:

    Agile leadership in a non-agile organization

  3. In relation to this article, a few days ago I saw this blog
    It's about agile people in non agile environment.