Impediments to Agile Success

Listed below are a few of the more prevalent reasons why Agile adoptions or transformations fail. It’s critical to address the source of these roadblocks. When determining root causes, Team members are encouraged and empowered to speak frankly and honestly about the issue. These types of discussions should be encouraged by their Scrum Master, Coach, Agile advocate, and others. Those advocates can also help to facilitate talks so that the focus shifts away from identifying the problem or “ranting” about it and toward viable solutions and how to address it

  1. Preserving Command and Control hierarchies over self-organization.
  2. No active involvement from the business (Product Owner) or customer.
  3. Documentation for documentation’s sake and not for a useful goal or purpose.
  4. Adopting Agile without defining goals or business problems that Agile will address, improve, or fix.
  5. Unwillingness to invest in training and/or coaching.
  6. Emphasis on metrics over product results.
  7. Believe that Agile is for software development and not for business.
  8. Over-forecasting in Iterations for fear the Development Team will not be busy enough.
  9. Turning work in iterations into “mini waterfalls.”
  10. Planning Sprints that will not produce working software.

Impediments to Agile Success – Few Examples

  • Not having an effective enterprise Backlog
  • Product Backlog not  having adequate Ready Requirement
  • Resistance to adopting the new practice at a different levels
  • Too many ad-hoc requirements
  • Not following the channel of requirement flow
  • Team Members jump from one team to another
  • Not Using Tools (Jira / Confluence ) to document requirements
  • Frequent change in Team composition •Reaching to conclusion too early

Ground Level – Roadblocks – Example from our Agile Transformation Experience (few examples)

  • Dev & QA ratio – Not having T Shaped Skill
  • Team Members don’t want to work 100% on support work
  • Management High priority requests sometimes kill the plan
  • Micromanagement of Effort hours
  • New Team (DevOps / Data science) needed frequent Releases
  • Complain from Management – too many meeting
  • New Stakeholders
  • Lack of Handholding with Business
  • Lack of Local SM / Coaches at Client location
  • Support and Development work with the same team member – Resulting in Task Switching, Sprint commitment incompletion
  • Immature User story / Frequent Changes in User Story, Acceptance criteria
  • Reediness of Backlog – Resulting to delay in starting the sprint causes waste of capacity

An “anti-pattern” is any behavior or practice that impedes your Agile adoption. These may seem useful at first glance, but in practice, they impede agility and your ability to achieve your Agile goals or deliver customer value quickly. These may also be referred to as “common problems” or “common reasons Agile fails.”

Niladri Mahapatra

Niladri Mahapatra

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