In the article “Most Impediments Are Management Level - Not Team Level” we explained how most of the obstacles to realizing the agile vision in an organization are rooted in management level issues – from culture and skill set issues to policy and leadership issues – and if these are not dealt with then the development teams will find it almost impossible to function in an agile manner.
We thought it would be useful to draw a map of the common impediments. When drawing such a map, however, one must be careful to differentiate between immediate impediments and the root causes that drive the impediments. Those who are familiar with the “Five Whys” concept know that root causes often are systemic and rooted in culture and tacit behavior that is far removed from where the problem actually shows itself through some symptom or obstacle. The “first why” is merely the immediate cause of the symptom that is being identified as a problem or impediment.
The chart below illustrates many of the common impediments that show themselves during an agile transition. Notice that most of these impediments are management issues: that is, in a large traditional IT organization it takes management to solve them for the whole organization - i.e., management must change things in order to enable agile to operate.
The impediments in the chart are “first whys” – they are not root causes. In a future post I will delve into each of the impediments and examine the root causes.