ALT Objections


The person you are coaching will likely bring up objections in implementing and supporting the agile methodology. In this section we suggest how to approach addressing these objections. We found a lot of these objections fall into six common categories:


Value Proposition Why do we need agile, why don’t we keep doing what works. Why change?
Capacity Management Moving from managing hard releases to managing smaller regular releases.
Return on Investment Budget and Metrics questions that come from a command and control attitude.
Productivity Perceptions that agile will have an impact on short term/long term productivity.
Fragile Agile We are doing some agile artifacts, we don’t need all of them.
Resistance to Change Companies/Employees are resistant to change. Morale will suffer if we make changes.


As a coach we suggest the following approach for dealing with objections:

  • Clearly State the  Objection
  • Provide A Clear Answer
  • Use this Opportunity to Coach the Leader
  • Provide Examples To Back Your Answer
  • Provide Resources to further educate the objector



Value Proposition Objection


Objection: Why not keep doing what has worked before? (Waterfall)


Suggested Answer: Requirements gathering tries and fails to identity everything up front. Application is outdated on launch as it is built to specification written months or years before.


Coaching Tip: Show an example of a waterfall project that had issues in the past.


Example:Dr. Winston W. Royce the ‘creator’ of waterfall wrote in his paper in 1970 that ‘I believe in this concept, but the implementation described above is risky and invites failure.’


Capacity Management Objection


Objection: Leader is asking for unreasonable project goals, could be asking for people to work on multiple team.


Suggested Answer: What we are building is a sustainable stable environment for the team accomplish their work. Splitting focus will result in lower productivity.


Coaching Tip: Talk about Weinberg’s table of project switching waste. (http://www.informit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1753360&seqNum=7)


You can also play the https://www.crisp.se/gratis-material-och-guider/multitasking-name-game

on this.



Read the case studies section in http://www.realization.com/pdf/effects_of_multitasking_on_organizations.pdf

for examples of how you can get more done with your teams if you focus them on less things

ROI Objection

Objection: Traditional cost accounting and Agile budgeting don’t match.

Suggested Answer:

With Agile you will gain better control of how budget is spent, with insight into the budget’s impact on value streams. You’ll be able to more frequently optimize budget allocation. The principal financial benefits of agile over waterfall are reduced time to value, and reduced sunk cost before value.

Coaching Tips:

  • Move away from project based budgeting to funding agile releases aligned to value streams –

Value stream operating budget visual courtesy of Scaled Agile Framework 3.0

  • Exercise fiscal governance with dynamic budgeting tied to the Portfolio Vision
  • Budget for the portfolio backlog

Example:  Excerpt from Open Sourcery: Apple is Agile and churns out products pretty regularly.  Google is also Agile and definitely has the agility to make changes throughout product life cycles. If things don’t work out, they can course correct pretty easily. Microsoft on the other hand is not fully Agile and pushes products pretty slow.  This slower time to market can cost more in budget and negative impact on customer satisfaction.


Productivity Objection


Objection: The team is performing at a lower productivity than before Agile.


Suggested Answer: Productivity takes on more of a quantitative meaning in agile which

results in better customer satisfaction and lower costs.


Coaching Tip: Teach about forming, storming, norming and performing.


Example: iPhone vs Windows Phone. The iPhone was created in an agile environment and the windows phone was created in a waterfall environment. The market share differences between the two shows the benefits of an agile approach.


Fragile Agile Objection


Objection: My teams are doing Agile but not being Agile. I dont trust them that they are Agile.


Suggested Answer:  Hmm. This seems like a bigger impediment to solve, have you found seeked feedback from the teams  on whey they are doing this.


Coaching Tip:Talk to the teams , do a retrospective and build a list of impediments they have.

Compare the teams on Agile Values and Principles.


Example: In most cases when teams are not being Agile, it’s not the team it is the system that they are working on that needs changed .

Here is an example that you can use to



Resistance to Change Objection


Objection: Agile introduces a significant amount of change throughout multiple levels of the organization.


Suggested Answer: Arm leadership with a sensible vision and communication strategy to ensure organizational alignment with the legacy challenges Agile is solving. Create a shared understanding of the journey to minimize feelings of threat and anxiety.


Coaching Tip: Actively engage leadership and empower them to be the “early adopters” of the change. Encourage structure, incentives, positive praise, and regular communication that acknowledges the journey across the change continuum.



Build your organization’s field of dreams, “if you build it, they will come.”


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