Reasons Why Agile Transformation Fail

Reasons Why Agile Transformation Fail

Before we discuss deep on what makes Agile transformation fail, let us highlight what we are about to learn. The following are the areas we will discuss:

  • Understanding Agile Transformation
  • Main values of Agile Transformation
  • Difference between Agile Adoption and Agile Transformation
  • Why Agile Transformation fail
  • How to prevent Agile Transformation failures

What is an Agile Transformation?

In simple terms, agile transformation involves modifying or changing the way an organization operates steadily to ways by which it can stand out to be collaborative, flexible enough, self-organizing, and adapting to the new environment quickly.

It is essential for all members of an organization to have a good understanding of agile transformation journey and values involved in it. This is to gain maximum benefits from a perfect agile. In the software development world, the major reason for embracing agile transformation is to give out the best software results. For this to be effective, both teams should embrace the spirit of teamwork to work together by accepting and implementing the changes required.

Values of Agile Transformation

  • Good customer relation over bargaining power of a contract
  • Relationship among employees over the actionable process
  • Quick response to implement changes

Difference between Agile Transformation and Agile Adoption:

Agile transformation and Agile adoption are two distinct terms that are used hand in hand, yet they are slightly different.

  • Agile Transformation involves the process of transforming a condition to a swift and quick change. The process is quite complicated as it requires a positive mindset and the spirit of teamwork in the business establishment.

The process is complicated because businesses only consider the advantages achieved from agile, but they are not sure of what to do or how and when they can introduce the frameworks and practices. If the frameworks are introduced early than expected, it will bear no results.

  • On the other hand, Agile Adoption is the process of achieving agile. In simple terms, it is the process of putting something into action.

A lot of organizations fail at the initial stage of Agile transformation because of having an assumption mindset in that “Since we are doing, We have become” The fact is that, it is always inappropriate to adopt a system before knowing the reasons for creating a practice.

Reasons for Agile Transformation Failure:

A contrary fact is that most agile transformation usually fails despite the fact that that failure was not part of the initial plan. Agile failure means that either they are reversed, cancelled, or they just fail to deliver the required results.

A point to note:

The success of Agile process is different from agile transformation success. The success rate of agile is high than the ones for traditional approaches. Agile transformations are the main programs of change and represent a risk.

Let us go through some of the reasons as to why agile transformation fail.

  • The Operation of an Organization

How an organization works and handle projects matters a lot. As described before, agile transformation requires a positive mindset to achieve the best results. Every business environment has its own aim, goal, and strategies of reaching a certain level. One of the main obstacle that most organizations experience is resistance and negative mindset of workers especially when a change is brought into the system. Most workers ignore the sudden changes in the management and the activities associated with agile.

The process itself involves a drastic organization’s change. This means that the change involves breaking down the old style of operation slowly into a new operational system. The organizations that are well established overlook the process and see it as a challenge. They always want agile to fit in the way their organization operates, and this leads to failure automatically.

  • Preventive Measure to this failure

For any organization to succeed, you have to be patient and understand that agile transformation is a drastic change which takes time. To entirely change the organization, you have to do away with its old ways of operating and start embracing new changes. Also, all the people involved; from top to bottom in an organization must have a positive mindset to embrace and promote the changes. Let us take the examples below:

In the world of sports and games, every person has his or her favorite game or sport. This means that you cannot force a person to join certain sports or games. They just follow their heart desires and how they do it. The same case applies to the employees of an organization. The employees are used to working a certain way and prefer to work under given methods. Now, for you to embrace agile transformation, you have first of all to set up an organization based on commitment, trust, and working together as one team. When you set up the above in place, then your company will start changing into agile transformation.

Another practical example is Netflix and how it operates. In the very beginning, when Netflix was formed, its primary purpose was to bring about massive change and exceptional performance in their business. The management then decided to operate in a responsible manner, freedom of expression, and equal treatment among employees. Now, the question arises, how did Netflix achieve its target objectives? Well, it achieved through the following strategies:

  • Substituting annual reviews and improving planning performance by open communication frequently with employees on a daily basis.
  • Embracing trust and building responsible employees to create room for independency.
  • It encouraged decision making power and independence among employees by avoiding long organizational processes and bureaucracy. This leads to quick feedback, teamwork, and massive change. In the end, an agile transformation will definitely take the course.
  • Taking other Agile Transformation Projects

What happens in most organizations is that the management looks for an agile coach away from the organization to conduct the research on their behalf. The problems come in when the selected coach goes for specific approaches that had already been used by other organization. They think that the practices will suit your company well when in reality it won’t. Also, supposed its not a hired agile coach, an ambitious employee from within the establishment might get inspired by a specific case study and they may choose to implement in their organization.

Well, the fact is that taking work already used by another organization is uncalled for. It is the worst approach will lead to automatic failure because what works with another organization might never work for your organization. Every organization has its own planning and strategic measures put in place. They both have distinct priorities, and they operate differently. Thus, copying from another company will fail automatically.

  • Preventive Measure for this Failure

In simple terms, agile involves creative thinking, putting down small experiments, and improving the process in an easy and quick manner. It is a process that consumes time, and a lot of learning is involved.

All you need to do is come up with your own internal coaches who will transform your organization slowly but in a perfect manner. Although you will always seek the advice and help from the experts, the secret is to ensure that your employees are fully involved in the whole process, especially making decision involved in the transformation process.

  • Poor Understanding of what Agile is

Agile programme is mainly involved in software development-oriented but not business-oriented. On the other hand, an organization’s agility is the ability to embrace the changes involved in the market state.

In most cases, business managers always search for ways to bring new products to the market faster and market the products faster so that they can penetrate the market quickly. They, therefore, begin to transform their teams to become more active and productive. At the end of the day, they apply this strategy to the process of product development and assume agile transformation in place, which is not the case. The mistake here is putting all their focus on product development which is not agile transformation.

  • Preventive Measure to this failure

You need to have a better understanding of all the dynamics involved in agile transformation. As discussed earlier, it is a steady process that requires a lot of changes to be effective. It is actually beyond information and technology. You have to be ready to take chances, embrace unity among employees, and learn new things that will bring a positive impact into your company.


Achieving an agile transformation is a complex process for both employees and organizations. There is no straight way to achieve an agile transformation. You have to work according to the values and interests of your organization. The secret to Agile transformation success is to work according to what you want and not what others are doing.

When you understand the possible reasons as to why agile transformation will fail in your company, you will get strategies on how to handle the problems as early as possible. The challenges will always be there in every organization. What matters is how you perceive the challenges and what you are doing to make your organization a better place.

Looking for more information on how we can help your business? Connect with Aalpha today and see how easily you can hire developers with us for your next project.

Also check: 4 Values and 12 Principles of the Agile Manifesto


Written by:

Stuti Dhruv

Stuti Dhruv is a Senior Consultant at Aalpha Information Systems, specializing in pre-sales and advising clients on the latest technology trends. With years of experience in the IT industry, she helps businesses harness the power of technology for growth and success.

Stuti Dhruv is a Senior Consultant at Aalpha Information Systems, specializing in pre-sales and advising clients on the latest technology trends. With years of experience in the IT industry, she helps businesses harness the power of technology for growth and success.