Is Mandating Agile Practices and Good Bet?

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually on Agile training, Agile coaching, and Agile-related software to manage the process.

Hundreds of millions. Annually.

It is not uncommon for a large organization to spend over 1 million dollars per year on Agile-related products and services.

Is this money being well-spent? Are the organizations that are spending this money making a good bet?

Gambling is the betting of money at unfavorable odds.

Wagering is the betting of money at favorable odds.

Let’s investigate, and see which one it is…



The History of Agile Adoptions

Let’s inspect this.

The sample size across the entire worldwide Agile experience since 2001 is at least 13 years of mostly-mandated Agile adoptions, worldwide! That might be 1,000 attempts a year for 13 years. Let’s use 13 years in this illustration. I am using low numbers, and being polite. (This was written in 2014….)

OK: If Agile-practice mandates actually worked, we would be able to point with pride to thousands upon thousands of verifiable and unmitigated success stories.


So for example, even with just a 20% win rate, we might be able to identify as many as 2,600 legitimate successes which is 20% of 13,000 attempted “Agile transformations.”

WOW-  TWO THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED success stories worldwide. Great … right?

Not really!

If  a mandate works 20 times out of 100 attempts, and a consent-based approach works 80 times per 100 attempts, both can be said to work SOME of the time.

A 20% win rate is nothing to brag about.

If a mandate will work in about 1 out of  5 attempts, in the long run, it is a gamble a bet at very unfavorable odds. You are a “4 to 1 dog against.” 4 out of 5 attempts (on average) will fail in the long run.

Are those actually good numbers?

Are we actually happy with that?




The OpenSpace Agility (OSA) assumes that human engagement is essential.

It replaces the mandate with an invitation. It is an approach that succeeds in  greatly improving the odds for success in getting a rapid and lasting Agile adoption, by acknowledging the reality of imposed mandates and replacing those nasty mandates with opt-in invitations.

The method includes leadership storytelling, the use of Open Space, deliberate experience design, game mechanics and more, all in service to the creation of rapid and more lasting Agile adoptions.



OpenSpace Agility gets it done. Are you ready? Let’s do this: CONTACT US


Related Links:

The Ken Blanchard Companies revealed the shocking fact that up to 70 per cent of all change initiatives fail. The article:

Mastering the Art of Change (link)


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