18 “Not-So-Successful” Case Studies

YOU CAN LEARN JUST AS much or more from companies that have attempted to implement an agile approach and failed or where it has not been completely successful. Failure in agile is seen only as a learning experience and is encouraged—without failure, there probably would not be much learning. Here are some quotes on the subject of failure:

Winston Churchill:

  • “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.1

Thomas Edison:

  • “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”2
  • “Show me a thoroughly satisfied man, and I will show you a failure.”3

Joan Collins:

  • “Show me a person who has never made a mistake, and I'll show you someone who has never achieved much.”4

Well-known agile mantra:

  • “Fail early, Fail often.”

The examples given in this chapter are companies that have had problems implementing an agile approach or the implementation has been incomplete. These are real companies; however, naturally, the companies are anonymous.

Agile can be a very difficult thing to do if a significant amount of cultural change is required. It is also a very empirical process, which means sometimes you have to try things to see what works and then make adjustments and corrections (a key idea behind agile is “fail early, fail often”). For that reason, these case ...

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