A key issue with Agile’s high-frequency delivery regime is change fatigue: however promising in principle, there’s a limit to how much change anyone can absorb. But how do you know you’re nearing that limit? Here are Agile201’s Top 10 signals of impending fatigue:
- Areas being changed resist the latest changes. Users become unreceptive and stakeholders become increasingly – and vocally – impatient the change programme as a whole.
- Individual deployments are challenged – their value or benefits, costs, impact, etc. Benefits realisation becomes increasingly difficult.
- Business and IT Operations are unwilling or unable to implement changes fast enough.
- Areas subject to frequent change become unwilling to respond to communications, requests for feedback and review, etc.
- Product Owners find generating stories with users and business stakeholders increasingly difficult.
- Stakeholders and business owners stop attending showcases and other events. Feedback at showcases becomes more negative.
- Senior management question the value of so much change. In fact it gets harder and harder even to attract and sustain senior management’s attention and enthusiasm for change.
- Change leaders, managers and team show signs of burn-out – distress, sickness, departures, etc.
- Budget and resources are diverted elsewhere.
- The whole Agile approach to change is challenged.
As soon as you start to see these signs, it’s time to start discussing the rate of change with your users and stakeholders. Wait till you get to no.10 and the discussion will quickly cease be about how much the organisation values Agile and start to be how to replace it!
So remember: sustainable pace is one of Agile’s core disciplines, but never forget that what you’re trying to deliver is success for the organisation, not just more and more ‘working software’. Sustainability is as much a problem for users and stakeholders as it is for you!