Who uses agile?

John Deere uses it when developing new tractors. Saab used it to produce their fighter jets. GE relied on it to speed up its transition from a dinosaur to a “digital industrial company.” Still, many believe that agile is only for up-and-coming Wizz kids at software companies. Those that can’t focus and commit to demanding deadlines.

The one thing all of these companies are aware of is that the products they deliver may not excite their customers initially. But, most of all, they know failure will move them forward. Failure will allow them to discover and move faster. Consequently, cross-functional teams are required to manage themselves, keep everyone on their toes and step out of their comfort zone.

Most corner offices will claim they understand the importance of agile. And, they will show that they know the lingo – scrum, sprint kanban, backlog, etc. But, when you scratch on the surface, you will soon realize that they are confusing nimbleness and agile. Yes, it would help if you become more nimble, but it is not the same. 

Therefore, the fallback is to continue with what they know best. It is the safer bet. Soon, effectiveness makes way for extra meetings, more talking, less listening, additional reviews, and promoting marginal ideas. 

Bottom line: The fear of disappointment, and our egos, keeps us in the spaces we know, even if it is the reason for our failure in the first place. But, on the other hand, showing your vulnerabilities and embracing the learning opportunities allows you to deliver impact.