Agile has finally entered the mainstream where you and I hear a lot about them. From what’s wow to what’s blah, everything seems to be grabbing the headlines lately. As a result, more and more companies are adopting as well as embedding best practices to get and go.
Speaking about the present digital realm, as long as you’re willing to put in the hard work, nothing can stop you from traveling the road to success. But here’s the twist- do you think it will be a smooth ride? If you are traveling a trail dealing with potholes is something that is bound to happen. Fret not, the following post aids in a few potholes to avoid on your agile transformation journey.
Now tell me something when I use the word agile, what is the first thing occurring in your mind- Scrum methodology. That’s so obvious, isn’t it! Being one of the most widely used project management methodologies, it encourages continual feedback, iterative development, rapid and high-quality delivery, and iterative development.
What’s on the other side?
The grass is not always greener. Have you wondered what worse can happen if anything goes wrong while working with agile? Over few years, every company or organization endeavored hard to become agile, irrespective of their sizes and backgrounds. Professional were soon addressed with names such as Squads or tribes, and they started to work by points instead of hours. Gone are the days when teams used to conduct meetings at regular intervals, now workshops are being held instead.
Unfortunately, many of you have no idea regarding the fact that agile is no methodology rather a mindset. Implementing such buzzing terms right way when you still have no idea what’s it’s all about can cause a lot more harm than good. For example, it creates more of a Schizophrenic environment. What I exactly mean is the vibe is where people often have this feeling they are doing things right, from the top management to the guys writing the code but actually it’s not! To be very precise, people stand-up every morning and don’t know what to say.
So, what to do? Fortunately, there are a few symptoms or potholes easy to spot; take a look and beware!
#1 Working without discipline
Now before you start raising your eyes in dismay, I will agree with the fact that every business do incorporates some level of discipline. Moreover, you must be wondering how can agile lack in discipline when it’s one of the extremely disciplined approaches used to attain sustainable peace.
Well, tracking stories to closure, sticking to ‘definition-of-done’ come what may, coming to stand-up on-time and able to finish in-time, estimation tracking, getting ready for decent demo, etc– are some of the most basic yet crucial things teams might face difficulty while adjusting to this. Without discipline, agile won’t be much of a help.
#2 You always need a coach
When conducting a basic project, you require someone who can make all the team members easily understand the business, how to keep the address and keep updated with the latest technology, deal with team issues and the list is endless. And trust me, it’s not easy! Even the most prepared person can be overwhelmed at times. So, what can be done? Well, even if you are thinking about bringing a significant change in certain areas in delivery methodology, which may or may not lead to reverting to the known approaches. With the volume of information increasing day in day out, the chances of new techniques getting dropped or misinterpreted are growing pretty high.
#3 Not documenting anything
Documentation is a must thing to do! Now many of you have this misconception that according to the agile manifesto, one must value completed functionality over comprehensive documentation. However, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to document things at all. From the initial requirement to technical specifications, test plans, everything even the leg measurements has to be documented appropriately.
Irrespective of what you decide to document, just keep this in mind that the principles of Agile must be taken into account in prior, and make sure that it is useful to the product in some way. I meant if it isn’t valuable there is no need to write or mention in the document.
#4 Letting the scrum master take the decision
In a general scenario, Scrum masters are the one recruited based on practical experience. Well, I think scrum master is the technical term used for project leads and senior developers who have the potential to become one based on their communication skills, sound mind to make decisions regarding the projects.
As a result, the team entirely starts relying on the Scrum master for every decision taken. Which shouldn’t be practiced! Yes, the key is to avoid dictatorship! No fingers are the same. Similarly, every team comprises of a variety of different personalities, so letting them express their opinions can provide significant help when it comes to delivering the best outcome possible. Perhaps, dictatorship can also result in affecting the team spirit adversely. This is one of the basic yet crucial pitfalls observed over a few years.
#5 Ignoring rapid feedback loops
One of the most critical aspects of agile is rapid feedback loops. It can be from anyone, whether it’s your customer or from your teammate, anyone. However, there is a possibility of taking early versions of solutions to the customer. If simply out, one can easily incorporate their feedback to make our product more useful for the customer. Similarly, by running regular retrospectives with teams, our teams get better at working together.
After all, the highest priority has to be satisfying the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. And make sure that the team reflects on becoming more and more effective, adjust its behavior accordingly.
Over to you!
Building agility can take you places like never before just make sure you get it right because the stakes are pretty high!