You may be thinking that the graphic below has nothing to do with Agile, and you’re right – it wasn’t created for this purpose. It was published by Gartner to help us understand the maturity and adoption of specific technologies. In the talk that Tristan Kromar gave at the ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Enterprise’ hosted by Lean Enterprise Toronto, he mentioned that this same cycle can be witnessed in organizations trying to adopt agile – which as we know, is not easy.
If you find yourself in the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ area of the cycle or anywhere before it you should be very careful. This represents the highest risk area of the agile adoption cycle, and if expectations are set to be really high, the crash into the trough of disillusionment will be very sharp. You might notice this when the organization reacts with organizational changes in response to their realization that their first implementation of scrum or kanban didn’t solve their problems right away.
If you’re coaching an organization to use Agile, set the right expectations upfront. There will be a steep and long learning curve that has to happen before gaining the productivity that leadership wants and expects. The adoption of agile frameworks is an investment in the organization itself and should be seen as one. If these expectations are clearly set at the very beginning the peak of inflated expectations can be lowered, and the crash into the Trough of disillusionment should not be as steep.