Major roadblocks standing in the way
Changing the thinking and workflow of an entire organization is difficult, and requires a lot of time, resources and money. Organizations want all the benefits of scaled agile, but not the costs that comes with it. Those costs are a major obstacle standing in the way of an organization’s path toward success, according to Smartling’s Akselrod.

“It takes time and money that you have to spend on the toolset, hiring a DevOps team, implementing all the software and practices enabling agile,” he said.

Akselrod justifies the costs by believing it is an investment that is worthwhile, and is a matter of spending the money or losing your business. “It really comes down to a very simple equation: Adopt agile or be destroyed by your competition. It is as simple as that,” he said.

In order to make the costs worthwhile, organizations need to have expectations set properly, which will help determine their readiness to move forward and guide them in terms of those expectations, according to VersionOne’s Cunningham. “The last thing that you want to happen is for a company to make a big investment in coaching, training and tooling, only to become disillusioned a few months down the road.”

In addition to investments, organizations need to remember that agile is a culture shift. Concentrating on the tools and process too much, and forgetting about how this is going to impact employees is usually what fails in a transition to agile, according to JFrog’s Sadogursky. “When organizations just blindly use the tools that were recommended by some agile book without actually explaining what they are trying to achieve and what are the end goals, that is 100% a recipe for failure,” he said. Driving the message about what’s really important—and deemphasizing what’s less important—will help the employees better understand the path they are on, he added.

“Agility requires a willingness to adapt at enterprise scale, and it takes courage to re-architect a whole business system for speed, steering, and opportunity capture,” said Rally’s Hudson.

Sadogursky also believes organizations who want to take that big bang approach will fail because it is easier to start small and then scale from there. “A more granular or step-by-step approach is more successful, because when you start with smaller teams, you can actually explain what they are trying to do, [and] you can monitor the process and get feedback,” he said.

VersionOne’s Cunningham went on to explain that an organization first needs to understand how fast they can absorb change before jumping too quickly into anything. “You are not only transforming the way people think about work, or do their work,” he said.

In the end, agile will help an organization be more responsive, more in tune with customers and competitors, and do things much more efficiently with less waste and less defects.