Agile is not a family of processes or a product, rather it's a specific cultural mindset. And to effectively introduce Agile, you must understand the culture of the organization you are attempting to change.
Sahota's analysis qualifies Kanban as mostly compatible with Control culture. He doesn't arrive at this by surveying knowledgeable and experienced Kanban practitioners, but rather just on his interpretation of Anderson's Kanban Principles. This is a disappointing omission. I understand why that data is not included, as no such survey probably exists. But nevertheless, it undercuts the weight of the analysis. For Agile, Sahota presents the sentiments of a broad number of Agile advocates. For Kanban, Sahota presents his own understanding of Anderson's high level principles. I was glad to see an appendix of alternate views included at the end of the book. A survey of Kanban advocates would likely reflect something similar.
These are just two examples. My former colleague Phil Ledgerwood, blogged about the effects of visualizing the workflow.
However, I see a similar pattern emerging with the community's focus on the Agile mindset. We write about Agile failure rates, Agile adoption vs. transformation, etc. And I am concerned for those learning about Agile, that they will see the Agile mindset as the destination, not a means to improvement.
Let's step out to a second learning loop for a moment and take a look at our language. We lament our failed Agile transformation initiatives not because of the continued poor organizational performance, but because we failed to instill the Agile mindset and all the cultural trappings. We differentiate between an Agile adoption and an Agile transformation, as if the Agile mindset is the end goal. We make statements like "Culture is the #1 challenge to Agile Adoption." Instead, why don't we state that culture is the #1 challenge to organizational improvement? Is Kanban Agile? Does it really matter if it helps organizations improve?
When we describe our efforts in terms of organization improvement, it challenges us to think about where we really want to go as an organization. If I may channel Denning here, we would have choices between maximizing shareholder value and delighting customers.
One of my fears is the development of a Cargo Cult Agile Mindset in our community. Even though it's the state of the art now, there is no guarantee it will always be that way. Imagine for a moment what the state of our community might be in the future (distant, or not so distant). I can image a team of software professionals registering impediments during a collaborative exercise, and one of those impediments could be the Agile mindset itself. "If we could only get senior management to let go of their insistence on that legacy Agile mindset, we could really make some improvements."
The Agile mindset as an impediment... Sounds crazy doesn't it?