McKinsey's “Agile Transformation Office” is the Final Nail in the Coffin
The agile movement has revolutionized the way technology companies operate and has been one of the main engines of success such as Google, Facebook and Airbnb. But, two decades after its start, the movement is now dead with the final blow from McKinsey who recently promoted an “agile transformation office.”
Agile was originally proposed as a way of managing work and organizing teams that develop software. It emphasizes client collaboration rather than contract negotiation, individuals on processes, responsiveness to change rather than following a plan and results on documents.
For the organizations that applied it, it became a co-advantagecompetitive. For professionals who have practiced it, it has provided a common frame of reference to help them work together more productively.
The success of people and businesses who have embraced agility has led to its adoption and popularity with organizations of all shapes and sizes. Large listed companies, small startups, government departments, banks, miners, real estate and nonprofit developers have all embraced agility or at least wanted to.
But the success and popularity of Agile has also been its downfall.
The butchering of the agile in recent years h as sent him on a downward spiral. Agile has gone from a set of shared values and principles to an empty, hackneyed word that has been misapplied to almost everything an organization does.
Take it promoting an" agile transformation office ". A unnecessary rebranding of an existing concept, the program management office, which goes to the against the fundamentals of agility. Each point listed by McKinsey as being different from a PMO is a given almost exact deion of a PMO . In addition, a office that "sets overall strategy", "monitors progress" and "creates minimum standards" directly contradicts the agile manifesto principle of "self-organizing teams" and almost certainly "people on the process".
PwC 's "agile business" is an equally bland concept when you remove the jargon, offering little beyond common sense statements such as successful companies are able to meet the needsns customers and better technology gives you better efficiency.
McKinsey and PwC don't deserve all the blame, their promotion of these concepts are just symptoms of the last stage of the agile movement. The last step started around 2015 when one of the founders of agile, Dave Thomas gave his presentation titled 'Agile is Dead. '
Now almost all job applicants go to great lengths to explain how nimble they are.
Most organizations go out of their way to explain how agile they are to the market, staff and potential new hires. For example, most of the big banks have adopted or are adopting agility (for example JP Morgan , Westpac , Bank of America and Commonwealth Bank ).
In practice, this means that it is difficult to make sense of the word “agile.” You need to find other ways to understand if candidates understand the underlying principles of agility. You need to take a closer look at the actual processes and behaviors at the within organizations to understand if they are truly applying the principles that have made Atlassian so successful.
These principles and values, known as Agile Manifesto , were written by a group of self-proclaimed industry "organizational anarchists " software at a ski resort in Utah in February 2001. The Agile Manifesto spawned the Agile Movement, a movement to promote the use of agile principles to create better software.
Two decades later, the movement has succeeded. The underlying principles and values of Agile are now table stakes for any organization. The degree to which an organization applies Agile is now a matter of small incrementsof productivity rather than a revolutionary game changer.
The challenge, and the opportunity, for the industry is to overcome misuse agility and focus on the underlying principles. The opportunity is to seek competitive advantages in new ways of working, such as product management disciplines, which can bring the benefits that Agile has.
PS: I 'm aware of the distinction between a big Agile "A" and a small agile "a", however, I didn ' t use it in the article because I think trying to do so. 'Incorporating appropriately would distract from my point. I don't think that removes the problem, but open to dispute.
Partnerwith us for digital product development