AKF Partners

Abbott, Keeven & Fisher PartnersPartners In Hyper Growth

The Biggest Mistake with Agile

At least 75% of the dev shops that we see are using some form of Agile. Very few are following a pure form of any specific flavor i.e. Scrum, Extreme Programming, etc. but rather most are using some hybrid method. Some teams measure velocity while other don’t. Some teams have dedicated ScrumMasters while others have the engineering managers perform this role. While most team’s processes could be tweaked, none of these are the real problem.

Scrum team

The biggest mistake companies make implementing Agile and thus the cause of most of their problems is they don’t understand that Agile is a business process, not a software development methodology. Thus, the business owners or their delegates, product managers, must be involved at every step.

We’ve argued before that Agile teams must sit together because communication degrades at a rate of square the distance. Not having product managers with the Agile team involved in the entire process and (if you’ve moved from a Waterfall methodology) not having detailed specifications, is the worst possible scenario. Developers either need someone siting beside them to help with product decisions (Agile) or a detailed spec to work from (Waterfall).

Agile is a business process which requires the business to be involved in the product development process. It does not mean you get to stop writing specs and not be involved.

Comments RSS TrackBack 2 comments

  • Kevin Barnes

    in June 15th, 2013 @ 11:41

    1) I think you mean “delegates” not “delicates”.
    2) One could argue that the number of team members is also a component of communication degradation.
    3) Agile is a business process that requires the business and the developers to work closely together. Major issues I’ve seen include:
    a) Agile is not just a way to track developer progress
    b) Specifications need to be just as detailed, but should not be finalized before development starts
    c) Communications must occur group-wide. “Just call me if you have a question” is not a reason for the product owner to opt out of meetings.
    Great post!

    • fish

      in June 16th, 2013 @ 21:52

      Thanks Kevin, I agree on all your points. Cheers, Mike