NEW Book Release: Leaning in to Avoid the AgileFall

Leaning in to Avoid the AgileFall

Your Agile Transformation Guide into the Digital Future:
And Making it STICK!


ISBN: 978-0-9847523-1-7
Pages: 321
Format: Paperback
Price: $16.99

Why…Yet Another Agile Book?

As a seasoned practitioner of Lean and Agile methodologies, with nearly two decades of hands-on experience and technical training, I initially hesitated to pen another book on the subject. It seemed unnecessary, given the plethora of existing resources. I believed I had little to contribute to the ongoing discourse. However, my perspective shifted dramatically in September 2022 during an Agile transformation project for a prominent Fortune 500 undergoing digital transformation.

In my early discussions with the lead architect, my inquiry into the team’s Agile ceremonies revealed a surprising revelation. Despite adhering to the standard Agile practices taught in training classes—sprint planning, story creation, velocity tracking, and the like—his response about their daily stand-ups left me intrigued.”

Embracing Agile: Tailoring Transformation to Your Organization’s Unique Pace

He revealed that although they indeed conducted daily stand-ups, the experience was far from positive – team members disliked attending as it often concluded with some of them passing out. The reason? They were mandated to stand for the entire duration, leading to compromised circulation and fainting episodes. Upon further inquiry into their daily stand-ups and team size, I discovered they accommodated a staggering 20-30 people, with the director extending the meeting by an additional 10-20 minutes through Command-and-Control soapboxing.

This revelation highlighted a crucial disconnect. While the team grasped the Agile terminology and the obligatory ceremonies, they missed the fundamental purpose behind them. Daily stand-ups, designed to enhance efficiency by minimizing meeting duration, limiting critical attendees to 7-12 people, and ensuring concise 2-minute updates, had lost sight of their “Why.” The organization’s interpretation had evolved into a cumbersome process, contradicting the Agile principles they aimed to embody.

Regrettably, this was not an isolated incident within the organization.

The Most Common Threat Indicators of an Agile Transformation

As I collaborated with various companies, a recurring realization dawned upon me – the fundamental issue plaguing organizations in their struggle with Agile transformations lay in the failure to grasp the nuanced ‘Why’ behind Agile. Many found themselves ensnared in comprehending only the straightforward ‘What’ of Agile, neglecting the more intricate ‘Why.’ This pattern often stemmed from individuals undergoing brief, one-week Agile training or certification courses, acquiring just enough knowledge to sow chaos and confusion. Consequently, product backlogs resembled wish lists for IT hoarders rather than strategically synchronized push-and-pull Kanbans. Compounding the issue was the misguided metric of success, measured by the quantity of stories added to the backlog each day.

Why Agile Transformation Success Is Not Just About Agile Certifications

It became evident to me that one of the foundational principles of Lean, from which Agile draws its roots, is often overlooked by many organizations—the significance of continuous improvement. Teams must consistently evaluate their processes, comprehending the ‘why’ behind their actions. In Lean, this is achieved through techniques like the 5-Whys. Without this critical element, Agile transformations risk being no more valuable or effective than the traditional waterfall methodologies they aim to replace.

This realization underscored the imperative to write a book redirecting focus from the ‘what’ to the ‘why’ of Agile. My aim is to guide struggling and overwhelmed Agile teams, helping them sidestep common pitfalls and embrace Lean principles for tangible, sustainable progress. However, I’ve observed that organizations have strayed from the Agile roots of Toyota Production Systems (TPS) by introducing unnecessary complexities. To be candid, complexity often serves to facilitate upselling certifications and consulting contracts, generating more revenue than implementing rigorous techniques like Value Add Kaizens (VAK), Root Cause Analysis, and Going to the Gemba to solve problems. It’s crucial to acknowledge that COMPLEXITY contradicts Lean flow and continuous improvement as it usually stems from wasteful processes.

If your Agile transformation hasn’t become ‘sticky’ within your organization after 1-2 years, you might be doing all the right things but implementing them incorrectly.

In summary, ‘Leaning In, to Avoid the AgileFall’ aims to shift teams’ mindset towards Agile thinking, recognizing it as the missing lynchpin for successful implementations and sustained Agile practices. Understanding how to THINK Agile makes it 100 times easier to BE Agile, a crucial insight that cannot be imparted through a mere Agile ‘certification.’

Who Should Read It

Whether you’re a business leader, Agile coach, Scrum Master, or team member, this book offers invaluable guidance on navigating the challenges of implementing Agile and Lean practices. Discover insights to drive successful transformations, resulting in improved efficiency, higher quality, and increased customer satisfaction.

What You’ll Learn

This book covers a comprehensive guide on how to migrate from traditional Waterfall project management methodologies to Agile project management, using Lean best practices and principles.

The book contains 12 chapters that provide insights into:

  • Challenges of migrating to Agile
  • Principles and concepts of the Lean approach
  • Common pitfalls in Agile transformation
  • Tools and techniques for successful implementation
  • Applying value stream mapping to identify waste and bottlenecks
  • Measuring progress and success
  • Strategies for managing change and overcoming resistance
  • Streamlining Agile requirements and design
  • Ensuring continuous improvement in Agile delivery
  • Building a culture of continuous improvement for long-term success,
  • Aligning Agile teams to Service Oriented Architectures (SOA)

The also book covers various tools and techniques for successful implementation of Agile, such as value stream mapping, business capabilities mapping, Object Key Results (OKRs), and Kanban. Finally, the book presents a case studies to illustrate how Agile can be successfully implemented in real-world scenarios.

How Is It Different From Other Agile Books

“Leaning in to Avoid the AgileFall” goes beyond theory and offers actionable strategies, real-world examples, and practical tips that can be applied in various organizational contexts.  If you’re looking to achieve mastery in implementing Agile and Lean methodologies, and driving successful transformations in your organization, “Leaning in to Avoid the AgileFall” is an essential resource that will help you overcome challenges, optimize your processes, and achieve sustainable results.


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