Thursday, August 13, 2015

CMMI-TV: Be Agile by Tuesday? Huh?!?

Hey, CMMI Appraiser, my manager is frustrated that we aren’t already agile. How do we deal with expectations that are out of alignment with agile values? ~ NY-SPIN Attendee

Dear Readers,

At an NY-SPIN event in New York City, where today’s episode of CMMI-TV was filmed, I presented on “Agile Resiliency.” A participant asked what it means when managers set unrealistic expectations around how long it takes to “go agile.” Below is a video clip with my answer, followed by a synopsis of my response. Enjoy!


In every industry, agile teams are facing the serious challenge of misaligned values within the organization. Management doesn’t seem to understand what agile is all about, and Scrum teams don’t seem to know how to communicate what they are doing. As a result, unreasonable demands are made on Scrum teams, demands that end up taking the agile out of agile, and driving the wrong behaviors.


“Let’s be more agile, but let’s have a weekly standup, not a daily standup.”
“Let’s transition all of our projects over to agile by November.”
“Let’s be agile by Tuesday.”
“Sure, go ahead and be agile; just don’t bother the customer.”
“Let’s start doing agile.”


These misinformed statements come from senior management – the people controlling our budgets. And there’s the rub. All over North America, lack of understanding from upper management limits organizations' ability to embrace and scale agile methods.


Choosing to be agile means embracing agile values, such as having an environment that is high trust, transparent, flexible, iterative and collaborative. Managers need to understand that Scrum teams operate very differently from the rest of the company. This is not a transition that can be successful without having everyone on the same page.

So how does the company go agile without destroying the value of the approach, and without disrupting the business?


To learn how to transform your company to agile, and strengthen agile within your company, we invite you to sign up for our two upcoming webinars:

Sign up for “Everything You Need to Know: Agile Transformation” on August 18th at noon EST.

Sign up for “Everything You Need to Know: Agile Resiliency” on August 25th at noon EST.

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit for more information about running a successful CMMI and performance improvement program.

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