I've spent a lot of time over the last few weeks talking about the problems of change. Now I'm thinking that Agile is always going to struggle because of the "siloed approach" that organisations innately adopt. It's covered really will in this article "Challenges of managing change in a siloed organisation"
The biggest challenge that Agile has is the capability of an organisation to deal with it the decentralised approach. When Agile is trialled at a local level it seems like the answer to all of those inertia problems that projects seem to produce. Of course we tend to forget that the trial project has a lot of support, gains the best possible resources and is given the highest priority so it's pretty likely to success regardless of the methods that are employed. However, at a local level - it all goes well - a fact that many Agile Consultants rely on when they promise to help you "mobilise Agile".
But as we start to ramp up the process across the organisation the cracks beging to appear. They're not inherent problems with Agility but rather that the approach & mindset in Agile brings the flaws that already exist in the operating model into focus. There are two ways for the cynic to look at this: "Agile doesn't work for us" or "Agile doesn't work in the real world". However, the real problem is that many projects & programmes would have suffered regardless of the method being used - it's the corporate culture that's wrong.
People talk about being "Open and Honest" but aren't really that keen when everyone actually is... we like a bit of wriggle room where things can be glossed over. Perhaps Agile should stop "making everything sooooo transparent" and concentrate on dealing with the Siloed organisation issue and it's politics. If we can make Agile work in a siloed environment we may really be onto something exciting...