It was about 5 years ago that I first got slapped by agile. In that time, I’ve been in several purported agile environments, from pure high velocity environments to full blown faux-gile environments.
It takes me time to really internalize things such as agile. At this point in time I feel like I get it (don’t we always feel that way?). And here is my big lesson: agile is painful, and it’s supposed to be. A quick followup to that: agile isn’t a solution, it’s a mindset that will lead you to a solution.
This may be stating the obvious, but the processes falling under agile such as scrum and kanban drive out the pain points into the open. Extending that idea, you can’t homogenize a process across the board because each team’s problems are different. Perhaps more importantly, to successfully introduce agile into an organization requires everyone having the courage to face the problems that surface.
The biggest failure I see is ignoring these problems and not allowing the team to fix them. If you can’t trust and empower your team members, maybe you hired the wrong people.