Agile can inflict a lot of irreversible damage to companies and teams and it can, in most cases, not be repaired. I sometime encounter companies that have implemented a form of Agile. Sometimes they use Scrum or Kanban and in other occasions they only use a few things from these Agile work models. But no matter what level they applied it, damage is happening.
Does that mean that starting to use an Agile way of thinking is harmful for the business. In a way yes, but rest assured, it is just from what perspective you look at it. You must realize one thing. As soon as you allow it, things are going to change. People are going to feel more confident in taking matters into their own hands. Elaborate planning is thrown out of the window. Time management must change. Sales people will have to use a different strategy in selling. And management has the feeling it is loosing control (we all know that they gain more but that’s a different story). But it is save to say that al lot of things are being converted. I was asked by someone at a party who’s’ business was not yet using anything Agile, if I would go back to the old ways. I simply answered his question by relaying the question to a few people in the room that already use Scrum. “What would you do if your company decided to quit with Scrum” I asked them. “I would resign!” was the immediate and honest answer. “No way in hell!” said the other while spilling his beer. It was sold to the new manager but can you imagine what would happen if one day a fresh and eager manager would walk into your Agile company and decided to do things the old way. It would not work. A lot of people would get upset and probably resist to the reverse change. A few would start looking for a new job and overall motivation would definitely plummet to an ultimate low.
Once Agile is infested within people, and they make what your company is, you have applied irreversible damage. You can see this as positive damage but never the less it is just that. And why do I use this negative word? Well, that’s very simple. Think of what would happen if you didn’t do it all the way. If you just do some of it. Then you are stuck in the middle. Going back can be very dangerous. So the only way is moving forward. Once you have made the incision you have to go through with the entire procedure. Starting with Agile isn’t just a fling of the moment. It is serious stuff that does hurt and makes changes. It does damage the old way of working. And it is absolutely very demanding in getting it to work. And if you want to reverse it, watch out it bites back. So take it serious and apply well and plenty. Make use of a good Scrum master or Agile coach and get everyone involved. What was that war thing again? “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”. Every time I walk into a new company that starts to work with Scrum or Kanban, I hear a little barking and growling in the back of my mind. A little sweet puppy is preparing to show it’s teeth.