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How to make Agile stick: Howard Deiner at Mile High Agile

At the Mile High Agile conference held in Denver on April 7th, Howard Deiner of Deinersoft, Inc. gave a presentation about transitioning to Agile entitled, “How to make sure Agile sticks.”

Deiner’s presentation was filled with stories of Agile transitions and some of the pitfalls and traps that organizations can fall into. “A ‘smell’ is a problem that comes up, and you should raise an eyebrow,” said Deiner when talking about “smells” that warn him that there may be trouble with an Agile transition effort, and it may require further investigation. However, just like with expensive Gorgonzola cheese, Deiner says, you don’t want to toss everything with a suspicious smell.

Examples of “smells” to be leary of with Agile transition include:

  • Coach-lite: The matrixed organization, where a coach is spread across multiple teams.
  • Just fix the delivery team: Applying Agile only to the delivery team rather than the entire organization.
  • Buying tools before you have your processes down: Figure out your processes and buy tools that will fit your needs, rather than the other way around.
  • Closet command and controllers: Management must trust their staff and encourage collaboration.
  • Methodology polytheism: Mixing Agile and traditional methodologies can be wasteful and frustrating.

Deiner gave eight traction tips that would help in making Agile “stick” even when problems are encountered.

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