Talk to any experienced practitioner of Scrum or agile and they’ll all tell you the number one impediment to organizational adoption of agile management techniques is a company’s culture. Change tends to make people nervous. They assume that if change is being implemented, it’s a direct response to their own shortcomings as employees. But the fact is that, when agile or Scrum is introduced, it’s usually leveraged to address a much more deep-seeded problem with how work is being managed. That is, it’s not so much a matter of how individuals are performing as it is about flaws affecting the entire management system. So when organizations suddenly mandate that their employees rethink how they do their jobs, they get scared. Sometimes they get stubborn—refusing to embrace the change or even give it a fair shake.
I just ran across this article by Vin D’Amico discussing the topic. It’s a good start to the conversation, but there are a lot more factors to consider. A great piece I’ve read on the subject is by Laszlo Szalvay of Danube Technologies, which actually advocates leveraging human resources to minimize cultural resistance. You can read it on the Scrum Alliance website here.