Monday, April 25, 2011

Patterns of Agile Adoption Failure

Many teams are trying Agile methods, or rather techniques. Many of them fail, and suffer from this failure, usually because the failure induces resistance in the rest of the organization, and makes later attempts to Agile adoption much more difficult.

The following are four patterns of immature Agile implementations, where team concentrate on some superficial agile techniques without really embracing Agile values and principles:
  • Usually team starts with stand-up meetings, and it fails, because it simply hurts their legs for standing 1-2 hours daily! Moreover, the meetings are boring, and take a lot of time discussing issues. The team feels that this "Agile" thing is naive and wastes their time.
  • Teams do sprints:
    1. Either one complete sprint for every waterfall phase. That is a sprint for analysis, another for design, another for development, and a final one for testing. So, it simply becomes sprintfall rather than waterfall !
    2. Or one sprint for every big requirement or group of requirements. The problem with this approach is that no feedback loop exists. In other words, they have split a big waterfall project into smaller ones. Just bigger management overheads
  • Teams use sticky notes and decorate the walls with whatever they do, even with requirements in a typical waterfall project. After a while, they lose interest in updating the board notes. Because every step take a lot of time (2-3-weeks), and they cannot see any value of maintaining two databases of requirements and tasks (board and electronic)
  • Team does everything just right, but do not take feedback from customers. Somehow better, but still waterfall in the large. Teams iterate to get feedback and to adjust their development effort along the way. If they do not get feedback, the value of iterating is not realized
These are some failure patterns, there are many others; if you have any experience with this, please let us know about it :)

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