Business, Development, Tech

3 Common Challenges of Scaling Agile and How to Overcome Them

Agile is the most popular project management methodology and approach adopted by businesses around the world. The problem starts to occur when you try to scale agile on a large-scale enterprise. Despite the challenges of scaling agile for enterprises, there are many advantages of it as well.

Here are some of the advantages of scaling agile:

  • Enhances capacity management
  • Align strategy with operations
  • Facilitate team planning
  • Increase visibility throughout the organization
  • Boost employee engagement

One of the biggest advantages of scaling agile is that it connects strategic objectives to people who are responsible for achieving those goals. This fosters transparency, improves cross team collaboration and coordination, and ensures faster response times and increased organization agility.

With a scalable agile approach, managers can easily balance the availability of resources and workload just like a dedicated server hosting does. This allows organizations to create more value without compromising on flexibility and innovation. When you scale agile throughout the enterprise, it brings cross functional teams together, which makes team planning easier while providing everyone visibility into deliverables.

In this article, you will learn about three common challenges of scaling agile and how you can overcome them.

Top 3 Challenges of Scaling Agile

Here are three of the biggest challenges that you might face when scaling agile.

1. Culture Shift

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What differentiate agile from other approaches is that it focuses more on culture and shared mindset instead of principles. Steve Denning, agile expert explains, “The elements of a culture fit together as a mutually reinforcing system and combine to prevent any attempt to change it. Single-fix changes at the team level may appear to make progress for a while, but eventually the interlocking elements of the organizational culture take over and the change is inexorably drawn back into the existing organizational culture.” 

If a company fails to change their company culture, they are more likely to fail at agile transformation. It usually comes down to how organizations think, act and respond in different scenarios. Business leaders should not only understand but also embrace lean agile approach, which focuses mainly on delivering value, ensuring flow, and bringing continuous improvements.

This means that they should be ready to fail fast and learn from those mistakes. More importantly, agile leaders should prepare themselves to challenge the status quo. For this they might even have to change their management style. If they have an authoritative management style, they will have to adopt a servant leadership approach. You will have to trust your team to achieve the objectives and empower and nurture them instead of micromanaging them.

2. Change in Work Management Approach

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Traditional project management approaches lock the scope in the beginning of the project and calculate the time and resources required based on that. Agile, on the other hand, turn things upside down. Since it works on an iterative model, it can fix the time and resources required by creating small iteration windows and makes the scope more fluid. Agile is usually driven by constant learning and change. Agile teams don’t afraid to experiment and make necessary changes based on the feedback they receive. This allows them to adjust the scope on the fly.

Here are some of the ways which businesses can adopt to change their work management approach.

  • Alter the team structure to allow active collaboration and accelerate experimentations
  • Tweak budgeting practices from project driven to value driven
  • Change your command and control management style to a more open management style
  • Shift your communication style from top down to more horizontal
  • Promote knowledge and learning culture throughout your organization

3. Technology Evolution

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If your business is trying to scale agile, you should have to focus on technology stack. In some cases, organizations might have to augment or even replace their technology solutions to scale agile properly. Avoid technology silos as they are the biggest enemy of scaling agile. Make sure the technology and tools you are using support and align at a tactical level. Without the right technology solution, you will never be able to scale agile properly.

Which is the biggest challenge you have encountered when scaling agile? Let us know in the comments section below.

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