Success with Agile
@moarsauce123, a key factor to a successful transformation of any kind is the management and leadership that is shown during that transformation. I agree that there are many examples of companies 'wanting to be agile' but not understanding what that takes. It takes a commitment from all levels of management, starting at the top. It requires and understanding that change is never easy but is essential to be successful in the digital world. Although agile will be implemented in a slightly different way at every company, the basic tenants of agile can be used. Scrum, Kanban, paired programming and other agile frameworks are available to be adopted where it makes sense. There is no one-size-fits-all for agile within an organization. Each team needs to decide what will work best for them.
I've been a part of the transition to Agile at Compuware over the last few years. It has been successful because of commitment from everyone in the organization, starting with our CEO. We have been agile for over two years, delivering new features, new products and updates to existing products the first business day of every quarter. (January 2017 will be the 9th consecutive quarter). We have reduced our product defects year over year while increasing the amount of code delivered. Prioritizing and addressing defects and reducing technical debt are part of our agile process. These are a part of every sprint and every delivery. We know you can't 'ignore' anything if you are going to meet the needs of the market. As was mentioned, refactoring, technical debt and the like cannot be ignored. They have to be included in the agile process.
It ultimately comes down to the culture that is created within the organization. A culture that is focused on success, using the appropriate methods and doing what is right for the customer creates a winning combination. Agile is one of the tools that is used to achieve the desired results, 'being agile' should not be the end goal. Using agile and transforming an organization to be agile can be done and it does work. As with most things, it's not the idea – it's the implementation.
Agile can be done with a commitment acoss an organization and by creating the right culture. There truly is 'no thing' to do to be agile.