No amount of preparation can guarantee a perfect execution, but it sure can push the odds in your favor. Organizations aiming to shift into agile should prepare as much as they can. In an article for E27, Bain’s Akshita Joshi highlights five common mistakes to avoid in your transition:
- Forgetting about people
- Taking sprinting too literally
- Ignoring rapid feedback loops
- Turning the product backlog into a required feature list
- Thinking agile is a license not to plan
About that first tip, Joshi writes this:
If we catch ourselves talking about ‘20% of that remote FTE ’, we may already be making this mistake. Having 20-30% of 12 FTEs is not the same as having five people dedicated 50%-100%. People have busy day jobs and multitasking and context loss kill productivity and motivation. In the original manifesto, the team is critical. In a truly Agile team, the team is dedicated, empowered, self-organised and thus motivated.
Some people hear the name “sprint” and believe that they are supposed to work as fast as they can during them, as if the whole thing is about executing one extreme Hail Mary. That of course is not the case, but Joshi has seen it. Sprints are simply time-boxed work that delivers a potentially shippable product at the end, without a Sonic the Hedgehog requirement. But teams must solicit feedback from stakeholders and/or users at the end of each sprint on what they have produced, so that they can incorporate that feedback into future sprints. To ignore this crucial step of conducting proper retrospectives defeats the purpose of agile.
Ultimately, the product backlog should only comprise necessary product features; it is not a catch-all. Bells and whistles and features without real priority must be stripped away. And lastly, Joshi takes care to emphasize that planning is still a significant part of an agile project. Great planning goes into short-term activities, and a broad plan should exist at a high level for where the project is intended to go in the medium and long terms too. Agile simply tries to do away with the excessive planning that often occurs in waterfall.
You can view the original article here: https://e27.co/5-mistakes-organisations-make-implementing-agile-20180212/