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Embracing Agile
Source: hbr.org
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Article summary:

1. Agile methods are spreading beyond IT to other functions and industries, but some companies struggle to implement them effectively.

2. Leaders often don't understand agile and continue to employ conventional management practices that undermine agile projects.

3. To capitalize on agile's potential, leaders should learn how it works, start small, allow for customization by "master" teams, and destroy barriers to agile behaviors.

Article analysis:

The article "Embracing Agile" discusses the spread of agile methodologies beyond IT to other functions and industries. The author argues that while some companies have seen significant improvements in productivity, speed to market, and customer and employee satisfaction, others are struggling due to a lack of understanding of agile principles by leaders.

The article provides examples of companies using agile methods in various functions, including marketing, human resources, and wine production. It also highlights the potential benefits of agile innovation, such as increased returns on new product introductions and higher levels of employee engagement.

However, the article's main argument is weakened by its lack of evidence for some claims. For example, it suggests that companies can achieve 50% more positive returns on new product introductions with agile methods but does not provide any data or studies to support this claim. Similarly, it claims that twice as many workers can be emotionally engaged in their jobs with agile but does not provide any evidence for this assertion.

The article also presents a one-sided view of agile methodologies as universally beneficial without exploring potential risks or drawbacks. While it acknowledges that some executives do not understand agile principles and may inadvertently undermine them, it does not address concerns about the potential for teams to become too insular or for projects to become overly focused on short-term goals at the expense of long-term strategy.

Additionally, the article's focus on scrum methodology may give readers an incomplete understanding of agile methods overall. While scrum is one popular form of agile innovation, there are many other approaches with different emphases and contexts in which they work best.

Overall, while "Embracing Agile" provides a useful introduction to the concept of agile innovation and its potential benefits for businesses outside IT, its lack of evidence for some claims and one-sided presentation weaken its argument. Readers should approach the article with a critical eye and seek out additional sources before making decisions about implementing agile methodologies in their own organizations.