10 Things Your Team May be Doing Wrong While Adopting Agile Ways of Working

“Agile” helps companies, programs, teams, and projects reap benefits at multifold. With the increasing demand from the customers and the moving industry standards, almost every enterprise/organization/company wants to implement/adopt the “Agile way of working.” 

During our tenure of Agile Transformation or “Agile Implementation,” we have come across many teams benefiting from Agile. On the other hand, we have also observed a few common mistakes that companies tend to make during the transformation, resulting in teams struggling.

Here are the most common 10 Mistakes qq teams where the team goes the wrong adoption of “Agile Ways of Working.”

Lack of Formal Training / Agile Education:

This is one of the primary mistakes which teams tend to make. Often, teams decide to run the project in “Agile” with limited knowledge or prior experience. This could be because of time and other constraints. 

While people and teams go through the internet to access articles and read about Agile, they need to understand the purpose and the essence of Agile and then apply it to their projects. 

Applying Scrum to All Projects

Many people have this misconception that Agile = Scrum. Teams implement Scrum without considering the nature of the project, requirements, etc. Agile, like an umbrella, has many frameworks within like Kanban, XP, BDD, Crystal, etc., catering to different types of projects and the Organization culture. 

Teams must be empowered and educated to choose their framework and practices based on the nature of the project they are working on.

Team Size and Structure 

A vital aspect of any Agile or Scrum team is its size and structure. Many teams fail in creating a mature agile team where people understand their roles and responsibilities. Often, management fails to empower the teams and tends to alter team size and allocations, which becomes a bottleneck in creating a stable team. 

Another common mistake is creating an agile team is based on technology or skillset; an agile team that is not cross-functional will often create dependencies and rely on other groups to deliver something meaningful to the customer.

Resistance Towards Servant Leadership

A widespread mapping in agile teams is that the Project manager becomes the Scrum master. Now, is this right? But the underlying concern is that when conventional managers are mapped to a scrum project or a role, they carry their traditional waterfall mindset and tend to micromanage their teams. This creates a pressure situation in the team, and the team follows the managers’ orders. It is vital that while we map a manager to a role in an agile project, they are also trained on the agile mindset. 

Silo Mode or Lack of Collaboration

If the team members only collaborate during the ceremonies and go into silo mode during sprint execution, the problem starts. Scrum teams are supposed to be self-sustaining, and close communication and collaboration promote the quality of independence. If your team members are waiting for the Daily stand-up or any other ceremonies to talk about the blockers/dependencies, you need to start revisiting your team culture.

Checklist of Ceremonies over Understanding on the Outcome

Teams tend to follow all scrum ceremonies religiously while not concentrating on their outcomes or purpose. There is no point in everyone talking about what went well, what went wrong, and what to improve if there are no action items followed in the next sprint. All ceremonies in the Scrum have their purpose, and it is vital to educate the teams on the purpose/outcome and keep it intact within the group.

Focusing on the Metrics Set Against Delivering Value to the Customer

We have come across many teams making the same mistake. Management focuses on the metrics like velocity, efficiency, story points and tends to disgrace from delivering value to the customer. From splitting the story to achieve the desired speed to closing the account before testing or demo, there are a lot of workarounds teams and management do to achieve the selected metrics. At the same time, let us understand that the agile team needs to concentrate on value delivered!

Not Revisiting / Reinforcing the Practices.

New Agile teams have enough excitement to start the project, and practices and frameworks are set. During the course of the project, teams tend to focus more on delivery and, due to lack of reinforcing the patterns and habits, teams start ignoring some fundamental aspects like 

  • Not adhering to DOD and DOR
  • Not doing Retrospection 
  • Not doing capacity planning during the planning 
  • Skipping Customer Demo

While the team can modify or tweak a few practices by revisiting them frequently, the team also should ensure the practice set is followed. 

Ignoring/Sidelining Testing and Quality

Many teams give a story for testing on the last day, or the team does not get enough time to test. Or the dev team plans their capacity till the last day of the sprint to cover more stories and end up stories not being delivered with quality. Quality at every stage is one of the selling points of being Agile, and the team needs to ensure this is taken care of.

No Tech and Support to Achieve Agility

Agility is all about the iterative and incremental delivery of value to the customer. While scrum ceremonies and mindset help the teams achieve this, other aspects of IT will enable/ensure this model. Some of them can include 

  • Automation testing
  • Automated unit test coverage
  • CI / CD implementation

These aspects are often ignored by the teams and fail in delivering value to the customer at speed.For more insight, blogs, and articles on Agile, please visit https://benzne.com/blogs/