Agile and SAFe® transformation with IBM® Rational® CLM: The Challenge

 In Watson IoT Continuous Engineering

In the latest State of Agile™ Report, 80% of respondents said their organization is still maturing in terms of agile development, and they stated these key challenges:

  • Resistance to change
  • Lack of training/experience
  • Inconsistent process and tools

This blog series explores these challenges, and how the IBM Rational Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) tools can help overcome them.


How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb?

One, but the lightbulb has to want to change.

Few doubt that agile development works. Surveys by the Standish Group, VersionOne®, and Dr. Dobbs show that agile projects are more successful. So, why is there still resistance to change?

Let’s explore some common sources of resistance.


The main cause of resistance is inertia. Organizations know what’s worked in the past, and change is risky. Job roles and responsibilities change, and that causes uncertainty.

Education is key. Managers need to learn how to govern agile development efforts. Specifically, larger systems of systems require the coordination of hundreds, even thousands, of people.

Architects need to learn how to evolve architectures over time. Deployment and operations teams need to learn how to deploy frequently. Process stakeholders need to learn how agile development can continue to comply with standards.


A key challenge to adopting agile development is how projects are funded. In traditional funding approaches, the purse holder invests up front to define requirements and estimate cost. However, this is not the most efficient use of investment dollars. Scott Ambler wrote a nice summary of the basic strategies for funding agile projects. The conclusion is that you get a better return on investment if you spend those dollars to actually build software. Also, see this Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe) summary of the problems of traditional project funding approaches. Again, the solution is education.


A successful agile transformation requires that everyone understand the process and tools. Education, coaching, and communities are ways that you can grow and expand knowledge.  Standardizing a common process and tools is key to reducing confusion and enabling knowledge to grow and to be shared across teams.


This article sets the stage for this blog series. The next blog will discuss how to choose a common set of tools to support your agile transformation, with a focus on the IBM Rational CLM tools.


Persistent Systems is the IBM partner that develops the CLM tools. We provide expert consultants that assist in agile and SAFe transformations and can help you customize your process and tools to fit your organization’s needs.

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