Niall McShane Niall McShane . Oct 5 . 2 min read

Obstacles to making the transition to Agile

I want to share the seven obstacles I consistently see that prevent organisations and executives from transitioning to higher levels of Agile delivery performance. 


These obstacles are more readily observable for external consultants; we are outside the system and therefore can look at how delivery performs from the outside-in.

To successfully navigate through the change curve and up to higher levels of performance,
executives are required to lead their organisation down into what I call the “valley of despair” and up to the right-hand side of the graphic that represents new higher levels of performance and employee engagement.

The Valley of Despair

The valley represents the cost of change. Disruption of the current way of working leads to
temporary operational inefficiencies as the workforce unlearn old ways and learn new Agile ways to work. At the same time this is happening, people’s fears and worries (of the new and unknown) are at their highest. Up until this point there has been investment in training and other enablement services to support the new way of working; costs are mounting, and people are asking questions about the transition's value.

This is where leadership is required to stay the course, learn, pivot, adjust but persevere forward to reach new heights of delivery performance (up on the right of the change curve diagram).

Valley of Despair - Source AgilityAlong the way to these higher levels of performance, leaders will encounter obstacles that affect their ability to lead the change; I have broken down the seven most common obstacles I
have encountered in my 15 years working in large Agile transition programs. The first four prevent progression out of the valley of despair, the remaining three obstacles apply across the entire
lifecycle of the change process.

As this journey progresses, our following blogs will introduce you to the seven obstacles in great detail and how executives can identify where they sit and how to overcome them.

Download the complete Whitepaper below, or stay tuned for future posts to explore more.


From Hurdles to High Performance: Download our Whitepaper

Over-Delegation Leads to Under-Removal of Impediments




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