Insufficient training is a leading cause of Agile failure

As a certified Agile trainer, I was particularly interested to note that insufficient training was reported as one of the highest reasons for the failure of an Agile project in the most recent State of Agile survey.

Some 30% of the respondents to the survey said that they blamed insufficient training for failed Agile projects; a humbling fact when you consider how simple this problem is to solve with a little investment.

Further scrutiny reveals that insufficient training can be broken down into one of three categories:

  • Nobody received training
  • Not everybody who needed training received it
  • Some received training, but the training wasn’t very good

Nobody receiving formal training is unfortunately all too common, especially within companies who may not have a dedicated training budget to utilise. It normally falls on whoever last picked up an Agile book to educate the rest of the team; often leading to disaster.

Insufficient training is amongst the leading causes of Agile failures

Insufficient training is amongst the leading causes of Agile failures


The wider team not being trained happens all the time. I’d wager that within the vast majority of Agile teams, only the Scrum Master has received any formal Agile training. Whilst the Scrum Master training course is fantastic, what about the rest of the team? Training courses such as the BCS Foundation Certificate in Agile do a much better job of educating everyone involved in the process instead of isolating specific roles.

Finding the right training supplier is often critical. My experience has showed that large training organisations who offer hundreds of different off the shelf courses can often provide much less in the way of value, than if you were to work with a company who specialise in just Agile training.

If you’re serious about an Agile transition within your team, ignoring formal training isn’t the right approach and will never lead to a successful Agile organisation. It’s important that everyone involved in your Agile efforts receives relevant training and it is wise to invest in training early. Not only will it give the team the knowledge of Agile techniques, but also an understanding of why it is the better approach.

You can download the State of Agile Survey here.
You can find out more about the BCS Foundation Certificate in Agile here.