14 September 2016

Agile will never work here

TL/DR: Agile will never work in Asia, America, Argentina Australia, China, India, or anywhere, really.

Scrum does not work in Asia
Why not?

  • A hierarchy culture where people do what they are told by their boss
  • People value harmony over disruption and so disupting the way things are is frowned upon
  • There is a deeply rooted deference to authority and conformity
  • Most of the work is based in the outsourcing industry and has a cost focus. Quality, innovation and agility are not valued.

5 reasons why agile won't work in Germany
Why not?
  1. Deference to heirarchy is a very strong aspect to the national culture
  2. The whole society is structured into silos. Focus on your job and do it well, rather thank think about the broader picture
  3. Germans love planning, and so let's focus on planning.
  4. Germans love perfection. Iterating on an imperfect implementation drives us nuts.
  5. We have a conservative culture and don't want to rock the boat.
  1. Entreprenuers and managers make decicions based in short term horizons
  2. Becasue we only care about the immediate future, the cost of quality feels to high
  3. We have a service industry (like Asia) and so project cost is more important than longer term sustainability
  4. Our culture celebrates heroes, so we value individual contributions over team culture
  5. Heroes get rewarded. Also, our pride and ego put our individual identity ahead of our team
There are more. And not just regions, but industries also. I bet we can find posts on why Agile doesn't work in banks, startups, R&D projects, government, etc.

I'd love you guys to post links to the comments and help expand this list.

Is there an antidote to these problems? Maybe


  1. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1296536997144267/

  2. Evan went to Nigeria and didn't report "can't work here" but did note cultural complexities that need to be considered... https://www.facebook.com/327412320992482/posts/1051165178617189/