Sometimes we are asked to deliver software using Agile methodologies in an environment, such as a financial services company, which is highly constrained. Banks have a culture of risk aversion which actively work against Agile teams. It can take weeks or months to achieve seemingly trivial outcomes.
I’ve spent the last 18 months working in highly constrained environments. Doing Agile delivery under such conditions has been challenging. Entire teams of people within the industry spend their days making sure that they tick the correct boxes in order to avoid getting blamed when things go wrong. Not only do they not add value to the system, they actively impede the efforts of others to add value.
We have had successes and failures. There were many battles along the way. Sometimes we won these battles and sometimes the bank’s internal immunity system denied us. Interestingly, our regrets mainly centre around battles we declined to fight. I’d like to share our learnings from these projects so that hopefully we can all get better at being Agile in the straightjacket that we sometimes have to wear.