Agile Tune UpYou’ve implemented Agile into your organization and hired professionals with Agile experience on their résumé to back it up. Yet, something is still not right. The gains that Agile promised don’t seem to be coming to fruition. Delivery times aren’t faster than they were before. There is no significant increase in quality. Your customers don’t seem any more satisfied than they were before. People don’t seem energized about it. Projects are turning red, and emergencies keep you up late at night. What gives?

Agile is no longer the new kid on the block. It’s been around for some time, and almost every organization has at least experimented with it in some form. The truth is, becoming a more Agile organization is not something that happens overnight. It takes hard work and fortitude at all levels to be successful.

I’ve talked to many executives that sense a lull and just don’t know what to do about it. Team members feel it but can’t put their fingers on what exactly is going wrong. There is mounting strife in the organization, and you are falling back on your old ways. It’s comfortable, but how do you bust through and keep moving forward toward achievement? Here are a few things for you to consider:

Pay Attention to What is Slowing Your Teams Down

Being an Agile manager is a philosophical shift from command and control to enablement. As a coach, a conversation I like to facilitate when talking with managers is to uncover what impediments might be slowing the organization collectively. From this discussion, there is a call to arms to actionably drive removing the impediments and to listen carefully as new obstacles emerge.

Some examples of impediments you may have:

  • Teams have trouble getting software into production because of down or upstream dependencies.
  • The tools being used are inadequate.
  • There is a lot of technical debt but no time allotted to fix it.
  • There are unnecessary pressures from management on teams.
  • Certain team members are not fulfilling their role.

Impediment removal is the bread and butter of a Scrum Master, and they should be empowered to remove them. However, management is often enlisted to help resolve tough impediments. Managers typically have more political capital and can use that political capital as an impediment breaking weapon.

Be careful; you cannot resolve impediments unless you know they exist. It is vital that you create an environment where impediments can be exposed, discussed, and collaboratively resolved. Transparency across an organization is key, and it should be expected at every level. An organization is halting agility when they accept the norm and work around issues because that’s the way it’s always been.

Concentrate on Metrics That Really Matter

Your organization is filled with knowledge workers trying to solve complex problems. A big mistake I often see is the implementation of metrics that attempt to measure their productivity. It is impossible to measure the productivity of a knowledge worker or team of knowledge workers without sacrificing transparency and creativity in your organization.

What’s a knowledge worker?

Agile metrics are divided into two categori