The Fad Factor

Agile has a quick, brilliant, but far to often, brief impact on organizations — a shooting star effect.  Why? It boils down to how well Agile fits within your organizational culture.

In his 1998 article, “Why Good Management Ideas Fail - Understanding Your Corporate Culture,” Dr. William Schneider points out that organizations are living, social organisms.  As such, they are resilient.  In fact, their survival results from this resilience.

Resilience, Schneider argues, is grounded in the organizational culture.  According to his research, culture is more powerful than anything else in organizations.

This finding suggests that the successful adoption of Agile hinges on finding a way to “fit” Agile to your culture.  I’m not suggesting that you should change Agile.  I’ve seen that done and fail many times.  Rather, you must find a common ground for understanding.

I’ve often heard that organizations resist change.  I don’t believe that organizational resistance is haphazard.  The resistance serves to protect the organizational culture.  Of one thing I am sure — change is constant.  Change that suits your organizational pattern has a higher chance of success.  Change that defies that pattern will likely fail.