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Agile Is Not Enough

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Agile Is Not Enough

By addressing architectural rigidity, closing talent gaps, and adopting a product mindset, leaders can realize agile’s power.

MIT Sloan Management Review,

5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Agile project management isn’t just for digital natives, but legacy organizations will need to clear a path for it.

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For companies that aren’t digital natives, agile approaches often deliver disappointing results. Certain factors in organizations hamper agility and reduce its benefits. Writing for MIT Sloan Management Review, Will Poindexter and Steve Berez – partners in Bain & Company’s Technology and Agile Innovation practices – describe three organizational factors that undermine agility and outline what leaders can do about them.


Leaders need to support agile development by fixing problems that inhibit it.

Many organizations find agile software development fails to deliver on its promise because existing structures stonewall its effectiveness. For retailer Target, technical debt meant that inflexible architecture was holding the company back. Also, a habit of bringing in third-party contractors had hollowed out in-house expertise. Leaders need to remedy problems like these to unfetter the agile approach and reap its full potential.

First, remedy rigidity in IT systems.

Rigid legacy IT architectures stymie agility. To modernize applications, choose from four approaches: 1) Completely replace the system with a new one; 2) redesign...

About the Authors

Will Poindexter and Steve Berez are partners with Bain & Company’s Technology and Agile Innovation practices.

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