Agile Software Development

Why Expecting Your Agile Team to Meet Deadlines Every Time Is Wrong

It is a common understanding that an agile team completes committed tasks on time. While teams should meet goals, you cannot expect that to be true every time. Why so? In this article at Mountain Goat Software, Mike Cohn explains why you should not expect the agile team to meet deadlines every time.

Time-Boxing an Agile Team

It is a tall expectation if you think teams will meet deadlines every single iteration. You cannot expect that even from an agile team. If there are consequences for overshooting a timeline, the teams might resort to some safer route to complete tasks. One of them is that they will commit less to fulfill their obligations. Following are the reasons why expecting your agile team to meet deadlines every time is wrong:

Camouflaged Underperformance: If you push your agile team members too hard, they will commit to slack deadlines. This will prevent them from being questioned regarding their productivity and commitment. As a result, it will take you longer to achieve the overall organizational goals. Worse, clients might shift their portfolio to another company or team that promises faster delivery.

The Benefit of Doubt: Ideally, an agile team should complete all the iteration goals within the specified timeline. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to expect that they would be successful in finishing their tasks 80 percent of the time. While cutting some slack, ensure that they strive for a 100-percent task completion each iteration.

Realistic Task Schedule: It is understandable that an experienced team member will complete tasks faster than a fresher. It does not mean that you would not allow the fresher with important tasks. For example, a basketball player knows that his score possibility is 40 to 50 percent. He tries nonetheless believing he could do so. Let the agile team also try its best by setting up a logical task schedule.

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