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Risks of an Agile Initiative

Good to know…

If you are coach, IT Manager or just an Agile passionate…in my opinion it’s good for you to know that implementing Agile has several risks.

It’s important to know it and to handle it. So here is a (non-exhaustive) list of global risks you should discuss in advance with your Management or your client, before starting being Agile.

A first reminder:

The starting point of an Agile initiative is that we realize that the actual system doesn’t give us satisfaction. We have new expectations and we want to change to a new system.


An Agile intervention is not always easy. A method like Scrum will put a maximum of visibility on what’s happening in the company. A lot of problems will emerge and it could be very frustrating to face them: Risk 1: Minimize problems, or accuse the method. E.g. « Since we do Agile, we are doing fewer projects than before ! »

Agile can be very seducing, seems fun, easy and productive. It’s simple on paper, but complex in applying. We need everybody to take actions in supporting the Initiative. Agile is a lot of discipline and structure: Risk 2: We didn’t realize how much Agile was binding us. We will only do a “Marketing Agile”.

If we want to go “Agile”, it is because the actual system doesn’t give us satisfaction. We have new expectations and we do agree that we want to change the actual system: Risk 3: We say we want to implement Agile, but actually we are comfortable with the actual system. At least we know how it works. Unconsciously we put Agile labels on previous practices.

Sometimes, Agile seems an IT method. In actual reality, it will involve and “touch” all the company: Risk 4: We need the management to understand what Agile is and to support us in that way. E.g. Sales give us better defined projects, CEO empowers the Product Owner and the Team

“Agile” people often criticize Managers, this is a common BIG mistake. We need managers and we need them “on board”: Risk 5: Thinking that we don’t need Managers to do this

“I know that I should do all these Agile stuff…but the actual system is still healthy. Sometimes we do have crisis but…we’ll manage”. “I know that we don’t work as we should do but that’s our company and we can live with that.”: Risk 6: We don’t have enough HUGE problems that could lead us to change.

Agile will put certain person out of their comfort zone. If a manager doesn’t manage, or a team member is clearly not a “Team player” it will emerge: Risk 7: Maybe the Agile method is not for everybody @ The Company. Sometimes people change functions, quit or in certain (extreme) case are fired

It can be good to know…and I assure you it’s worth it !

Hope it helps,


Picture by The Fayj

Post written listening: Anti-Flag – Postwar Breakout

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