6 Deadly Sins of Agile Implementations: Organisational Implementation

August 5, 2020 | Peter Cronin

In the previous article, we discussed failing to get management buy-in. In this article, we will discuss failing to implement Agile throughout the organisation.


“Implementing Agile in one part of the business alone can actually do more harm than good to the business as a whole.”


Failing to implement Agile throughout the organisation can lead to a failed transformation entirely. This is our sin number two.

In most organisations, there are two countering focuses:

  1. Looking at managing and performing locally
  2. Looking at managing and performing globally

Individually, we tend to err on the side of locally because we know our local considerations well, and it’s easier to measure isolated performance.

However, global is really what we want to be focused on because businesses that have global performance initiatives have greater global profits. However, not all of the goals of the organisation are global – they’re broken down to be more manageable by local areas. But the real focus is on global performance.

Sometimes, Agile is deployed within a local area with excellent results. However, doing so actually damages the global performance of the business as a whole. This can happen when your business already has some conflicts between local and global performance. When there are issues between the local performance results and global performance results, it is not unusual to find differences in the way things are managed, and the choice of measures used.


“…going off and implementing something new and different in one area of the business is going to exacerbate those issues, rather than actually help them.”


Instead, when there is a difference between what is best locally and globally, consider:

  • Has another team deployed a similar approach in a way that works well in the business?
  • Can the issues arising be handled so that there is no adverse impact on global performance?
  • Can we adapt our Agile initiative so that implementing Scrum or sprints is positively contributing to the global performance of the organisation?

If all you’re doing is managing the team’s work separately, as a sprint, and nothing else has changed, you’re in the process of an Agile transformation. However, you still have more to do.

If you do want a successful Agile transformation, and you have found that it’s failing because of the conflict between the local measures you want to put in for Agile and the organisation’s global measures. What you need to do is clearly identify the local and global measures and how they fight each other, i.e. how the local measure violates the global measure.


A successful Agile implementation is one that is done in such a way that helps the company achieve its objective and goals, not in a way that puts a bigger rift between operations and organisational planning.


People need to come together to find a way for Agile to help their organisation, as a whole (not just their department). Agile should not be an isolated initiative that helps one team alone.