Which companies are going agile?
Is it the companies which know exactly what they are doing? The ones which have all their processes in place, and follow them? The ones that have a solid way of collecting requirements and documenting them? Or actually the ones that have a good documentation standard and follows it?
Or is it the companies who lives in caos, have no or few processes, or at least are following them? The ones that have no requirements documented (or no documentation at all)?
I argue that many companies that goes agile today, and have for the past few years are the ones that fall into that last group.
Companies that lack everything looks for the easy fix, and for some reason agile has become that apparent easy fix.
But is it? Is it an easy fix? will it solve the problems listed above? Not at all, what they will end up with is a new documenation issue, new processes that are probably twisted to fit the company, requirements caos, dev trying to do agile, rest of company continuing doing like they used to, resulting in even more clashes then previously.
Is this because of agile, is it in its nature? No, it is not, because many companies have succesfully implemented one or more agile approaches/flavours.
To me one of the differences between those who succeed and those who fail, is how disciplined, well organized, well structured, well documented, they were before the agile transformation.
A company that is structured and know what they are doing can often handle the disruption which an agile (or indeed any) transformation is, whereas others will suffer and fail.
The reason for this is because they try to fix all of their problems by changing the methodology whereas the right approach in my perspective is taking babysteps, Fix one problem at a time;
-Get your (just enough) documentation in place
-Establish good processes and follow them
-Collect and document requirements sufficiently
-Get everyone involved – from the board of directors to the piccolos, get them involved, start to get them to embrace the thoughts behind agile
And then you can implement your agile methodology, and your chance of succes is much higher.
So if done wrongly, agile is just another way to fail, your bad results will be visible a lot faster then before, in essence, you will fail faster.
Done correctly it will take time, a lot of time, and commitment from the entire organization but you will end up with a company that can react to the disruptions that happen all the time and which will increase in numbers and frequency over time, and come out stronger each time.