Today we have a guest post from Anthony Mersino. Anthony and I have worked together numerous times.  I respect his vision, wisdom and dry humor.

Many organizations create an organization to help with their agile transformation. Various names have been given to these groups. Two that I really don’t like are the Agile Center of Excellence and the Agile PMO. The name is not inconsequential. Here is why I think that establishing a Center of Excellence for Agile is a really bad idea.

The intent of a group like the Agile Center of Excellence is often described as ‘to promote agility in the organization’. That sounds like a good thing, right? What often happens is that the way they go about it actually inhibits agility. What frequently happens is that the Agile Center of Excellence (CoE) focuses almost entirely on standardizing processes and tools, and leveraging scale and efficiencies. What could go wrong? (more…)

Door with caution tape.

Good or Bad?

Functional Centers of Excellence (COfE) are a fact of life in many organizations.  When used correctly, which is easier said than done, functional COEs deliver value. (more…)


Four Centers of Excellence

I used the term DevOps Center of Excellence to describe a COE that delivers a service to the organization in the essay, Types of Center of Excellence.  This type of COE is a consolidation of the personnel to deliver a service into a group that can be drawn on by other parts of the organization.  Another name or description of this type of COE is a Center of Functional Excellence (COfE). After reading the essay Pete Franklin (@PeteFranklin) tweeted:

Eight Avoidable Reasons Why COEs Fail… via @TCagley – I’ve almost never seen a functioning CofE

When asked his opinion on why that was his experience he responded:

My theory is that the whole model is based on some fundamentally incorrect assumptions. In particular, that skills that exist in one place can be deployed into another team with no losses or issues. The old ‘fungible resource’ fallacy 🙂

I have seen functional COEs work and work well, however, I tend to agree that the seeds to make this type problematic are often present. (more…)