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Agile Sucks ... If You Deliver a Car Without an Engine

ING-agile-1"Everybory will be Spotify" is a nonsense.
Agile aproach in e.g. banking is not a nonsense.
But the one must not be a hypocrite... 

ING Case

The ING Belgium case study video presented at Agile Business Manifesto can be taken an excelent example of risk of miscommunication of the agile concept. There is rightly mentioned "holy trinity" of "Customer + Culture + Collaboration at the beginning . 

AgileING3C in Agile - Source: Agile Business Manifesto

The rest of the video contains a description of the organizational stuff i.e. tribes, squads, chapters, tribe lead(er)s, agile coaches...

ING-agile-1Organizational Elements - Source: Agile Business Manifesto

So, we just reshake people to "squads", rename the "divisions" to "tribes" and .... what shall happen? Miracle?

What's Missing

There are no further mentions of the "culture" in a video. And the culture change is, in my eyes, the corner stone of the entire agile approach. With all the negative and positive connotations. What is missing, for example?

  1. No word about 1/2/3/4/5 tribal stages defined at Tribal Leadership . No word about tha fact that tribal leader's key misssion is to  develop people from stages 2. to 3. , from 3. to 4. etc. No word about that people shall agree, at least themselves, that they want to move in that direction and if not that they shall leave. With all the impacts, for them and organization.
  2. No word about the conscious mixing of the pioneers - settlers - town planners mentalities in the organization.
  3. No word about the fact, that tribe leaders shall be the enterpreneurs by the soul. Well, why entepreneurs shall work in corporations? Can they be reborned there? How to spread and share the experiences of the enterpreneur? Business simulations/games could be the one of possible vehicles as "If I tell you something, it's true for me. If you discover it, it's true for you."

Tribal Leadership

Shortly. Read that book. It gives you the useful insight into the hell we have created and the suggestions how to move from it.


Tribal Leadership :
Leveraging Natural Groups to Build A Thriving Organization
by Dave Logan, John King, Halee Fischer-Wright -
5 Stages of Tribes

Innovation Related States and Mentalities

Simon Wardley has state it clearly that time flows from the custom projects to the products to the commodities. Each state has its own mentality. And an efficient dialogue between mentalities have also some particular shape. This flow of time is an important force currently as the movement between these states dramatically speeds up. Our grandparents lived their whole lives with the many technologies in one state. Not us or our children. So handling efficient movement between stages is an important competence for all.

Agile - Pioneers - Settlers - Town PlannersMixing pioneers - settlers - town planners mentalities -
Source: Simon Wardley


Mentalitities and Tribes
Source: Simon Wardley

Business Simulations

If tribal leaders shall have the entepreneur's approach, how to manage it. Hire the entepreneurs in to teams? May be. But how many of them would like to join the corporation? Business simulation games can be the good tool how to spread the feelings of enterpreneur.

Simulations-boardExample of the business simulation game
transfering the experiences of the entepreneur
Source: Business Today

Other Sources

If you are new to "agile" approach, some of these links can help you too: 


If you apply the agile approach in this castrated "reshaking" form, than you shall not be surprised that the agile will not work for you as expected. You have delivered a car but without the engine. Which is clearly absurd in the car example. But doesn't have to be while trying to implement the agile approach in your company...


What do you think?

  • Do you agree or disagree with me?
  • Do you have other tips for sources helping to greenhorns to understand the potential of "agile"?
  • Do you think I can be somehow helpful in implementing agile approach in your organization?

Super. Just...


See more from my IT , Finance, Sales, Marketing related thoughts.
Roman Řípa loves to innovate and build the stuff in   #fintech    at Blue Strategy.



Amazing examples that you expressed in your article. Thanks for sharing the precise info. Leanwisdom welcomes all the professionals who have the desire to learn about the techniques in SAFe. However, you can work in any part of the world. After completing SAFe Agile Training, you can become an Agile coach, SAFe program consultant and SAFe Release Train Engineer. Further, this will help you to scale your organization by improving the quality of the product. You can enroll today and become a SAFe Agilist by visiting this link -

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