“The Agile Manifesto: where the Enterprise got it wrong.”
Propelled by the resounding success of Agile on a small scale, large global enterprises naturally try to scale Agile up to bigger projects, as well as across the board in their organizations. How can an enterprise leverage the energy and potential of these self-sufficient teams to tackle bigger problems? Unfortunately, in this process much energy has been spent without realizing the same results. Also, we have seen that enterprise Agile projects can't rely on "senior-only" teams and the concept of self-organized teams encounters serious limitations with enterprise size numbers.
In our experience working with large enterprises, we have developed a slightly different interpretation of the Agile Manifesto, specifically about the first and foremost principle 'People over Process.' Inspired by Lean thinking, we offer a new and more holistic view for People. Our perspective goes beyond just the “team” to embrace the entire organization including development, operations, architecture, security, etc., and also searches for an organizational "global optimum" instead of non integrated local optimums.
Finally, we believe there is a balance between Autonomy and Integration when applied to different business processes and this balance should be drastically redefined depending on the level of innovation the organization aspires to achieve.
CI&T has been implementing and evolving a Lean-based development process for the last 6 years in an organization as big as 1,700 people (where even our accounts payable and marketing teams run SCRUM or kanbans). Not rarely, we have been called to turn around many troubled projects in large companies. We believe the main reason these projects failed is because they tried to transport a small-scale Agile approach to big companies without proper adaptation, thereby running into issues. In the case of one new account, we have even replaced an Agile industry thought leader. We think this is remarkable and leads us to believe properly scaling Agile to the Enterprise is one problem still needing to be addressed and discussed within the Agile community. When we started using Agile methodologies we made our own mistakes and through the years we have incorporated some practices that better align Agile to big companies’ needs.