An Agile Transition is not iterative software development with Scrum

One of my learnings in software development and people are the interpretation of agile at all. Everybody has its own definition and meaning of agility which makes it hard to understand what really is wanted and needed as a common minimal dominator between senior management and employees.

The Agile Onion

Due to our presentation at the developer day in Frankfurt, Frank came up with idea of the agile onion which is a perfect fit for me:

Agile Onion

Original source:

We made the experience to start and “agile transition” with the yellow ones, practises, tools and processes. The base was Scrum based on the LeSS framework (yes, even SMB wants to scale and prepare for big).

Once introduces to the scrum framework, the challenge happened that the focus didn’t shift to values and principles or mindset, because it never was a goal to broaden the agile mindset, change values and principles. Even the scrum values have been added as an explicit part of the scrum guide during we’ve been in the middle of the agile transition between end 2013 and beginning 2017. It would have required a structural and cultural change with the idea to move to a learning organisation. There’ve been experiments towards this direction, but they failed basically. For example an initiative to write down principles and values in a small group and share them with the rest of the dev teams by printing and handing them out, without even presenting nor discussing it within the group.

Nevertheless the agile transition was officially successfully finished at the end of 2016 in development and announced to all employees on a kick off event in early 2017. It basically included adapting iterative software development with scrum.


Everyone has its own interpretation about “agile transitions” and its outcomes. Define and write down the common understanding of “agile”. If you don’t want to change or willing to affect principles, values and mindset, don’t call it agile!

Do the same with goals – what do you like to change? Continuously inspect and adapt about the understanding and goals, check where you are and where you want to go next. Share it with all affected employees and start a discussion about it. Listen and learn how to improve and move forward.

Comments? Different views? Would like to hear about it.



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