Misconceptions of Working in Agile

Working in agile provide extreme flexibility and gives the organisation as well as team a lot of scope on how they can achieve the guiding principles and values. Trial and mistake are the key components of agile. It encourages taking risks, learning from the mistakes and adjusting to it quickly.

Now that agile is one of the most popular scenarios in the industry but Still there are some things that have been attempted again and again which should be avoided if we don’t want to slip and fall down. This blog is about breaking some common misconceptions that everyone has about the agile methodology.

1.Agile is not all about going faster!!

Going faster is indeed the byproduct of many agile practices but we can’t get the full paybacks of agile immediately. Many teams rehearse all the Scrum Ceremonies and start moving faster than they ever did under Waterfall methodology but they realise that being quick is not necessarily being right. We simply start building the wrong things faster in this practice. In this case the focus is on just the high velocity but not the actual requirement which is business values and management.

2.Changing someone’s title to ScrumMaster won’t give the same status report as they provided as project managers.

ScrumMasters are the drivers of Agile Values. Not to mention that their reports in Agile should not be just about Velocity, Dates and Deadlines. A ScrumMaster should ideally be responsible for a healthy and smooth functioning of the team and should also promote the agile values of collaboration, delivering values, proper communication and change management. In the business there should be proper system for tracking business values and providing continuous progress metrics.

3.Empowerment of teams does not mean that they can make mistakes or decisions.

If the teams members are afraid of making mistakes that means they tending towards being the order takers. Such teams cannot be innovative and they will stick to the pre-defined set of status quo. When we hire a ‘knowledge worker’, we expect them to be critical thinkers, decision takers and change makers. So to bring out the best of the team, its important to let them make some mistakes to stretch and enhance their skills. They should know that not every decision that they get from the higher management is always perfect. They have ull rights to ask question and present their ideas on any aspect of the project. That actually makes successful team and a great manager.

4.Accept that Unplanned work and tasks will affect the velocity and the capacity of the team
In a superlative agile environment, the team is focused on towards the same goals and action items assigned to them. If for any reason, the team members have to consistently work outside these specified goals and tasks, it cannot be ignored that it would affect the current team velocity towards the project. The resource allocation should be transparent and should clearly specify the missed goals and the reduced speed and capacity of the team because of the unplanned work that the team is undertaking.

5.Switching to Agile won’t provide significant changes until it is synchronised with the generous change in the current approach.

Agile is not all about just changing you status meetings from sitting down to standing up, putting lines and buying some new tools to manage stories. These just give an outward appearance of the agile environment. Switching to agile also requires a major change in your Behaviour, your beliefs and experiences. It requires challenging your organisation’s mindset and behaviour to achieve the value management over the requirement management. You should be continuously challenging yourself to ensure that you are being Agile in every aspect.

6.Remember that Scope-Budget-Schedule rules apply to the Agile as well

While working in the agile managers often tend to ignore the fact that the Scope-Budget-Schedule constraints also apply on the agile environment. The triangle is flipped upside down in agile. In agile the scope is the variable factor but the time and cost are fixed. Agile requires the minimisation of feature set as well as the viable product.

7.A significant cannot be made without slowing down the workload to walk through the learning curve

To embrace the agile, the company makes itself willing to change all the rules. It wants to build healthy teams, be innovative, take risks and make breakthrough organizational challenges. But is it all really possible if the deadlines which were set before the agile are not changed. The management cannot remain rigid if everyone else is changing. Deadlines will indeed be affected with the transformation. The company cannot go through a sharp curve without slowing down and then reaccelerating the process.

This is some of top things based on our experiences at GSOmega while working across different clients and industries.

We would love to hear your additions to this article. You can share your ideas below in the comment section.

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