10 Roads Signs for Your Agile Journey
So, you've started your Agile transformation and want to avoid any potential bumps in the road... read on for advice on what to look out for.
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What if a rookie car driver is suddenly asked to drive an eighteen-wheeler? This is how most enterprises feel when they suddenly decide to jump on the Agile bandwagon. Let's look at some of the road signs that the new truck driver needs to keep an eye out for!
1. Big Bang Approach to Agile: Overspeeding
As they say, speed thrills but kills. Imagine if somebody goes to fifth gear directly from the first gear! The vehicle will invariably come to a grinding halt within seconds! Similarly, some overzealous enterprises might step on the gas too soon and end up in the ditch. Enterprises choosing to go agile must first test the waters with a single team. They can then organically step up their game and scale agile to multiple teams.
2. Leadership Drives Vision: Green Signal
Lack of a clearcut vision and objective from the leadership creates chaos just like a malfunctioning traffic signal. Lack of executive support in enterprises hurts large-scale agile transformation and delays agile adoption over time. Enterprise agility requires a top-down commitment to drive the new way of thinking and delivering value.
3. Resistance to Change: One-way Sign
Infusing agility can face significant roadblocks from different quarters, especially business divisions. True agility is when all teams of an enterprise adopt agile practices and not just the IT teams. In fact, in a recent state of Agile survey, 43% of the respondents said that organizational resistance to change is the biggest challenge to adopting and scaling Agile. This can be overcome by setting up a centralized Agile team tasked with the responsibility of coaching teams. Also, once the teams start reaping the benefits of Agile, the resistance will die a natural death.
4. Business IT Alignment: Broken Bridge Sign
There always exists a gap between the business and the IT teams. The business teams constantly object to the IT teams not being up to speed and the IT guys cry in vain about lack of clarity from the executives. But, we feel in the coming days IT will drive the business and both units must converge.
5. Fear of Failure: Dangerous Obstacles
It's alway's unnerving when we come across dangerous obstacles in the road. Similarly, most enterprises hesitate to adopt Agile because they are skeptical about failing or their investments going down the drain. Agile advocates iterative development which identifies fallacies sooner, thereby enabling a fail fast approach. In a fail fast approach, during development the teams continually check with the customer for feedback. In the event of negative feedback, the teams pivot and work on a new feature, also learning valuable lessons in the process.
6. Flawed Estimation Technique: Landslide Sign
Getting your estimation technique wrong can completely derail your release plans. A flawed technique can result in over commitment and delivery slippage. While the jury is out on the perfect estimation technique, we feel planning poker (for a limited set of backlogs) and bucket system works for most teams.
7. Playing Without a Coach: Slippery Road Sign
Teams largely align themselves to deeply instilled habits in their enterprises. These age-old mental models take the steam off their Agile journey. Agile coaches help teams unlearn these mental models and switch them out for Agile values. As mentioned earlier in the post, setting a centralized Agile team goes a long way in ensuring consistent Agile practices and processes.
8. Being a Feature Factory: U-turn Sign
Being in a 'Feature factory' is like taking U-turns continuously! Despite traveling for quite a while, we end up in the same place. This kind of setup not only affects the morale of team members but can even affect the fortunes of a company. Every team member must definitely know the purpose behind building the product and their prospective users, and understand their individual role in the process in order to be truly motivated and effective. Successful teams start with building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and incrementally add features based on stakeholder feedback.
9. Ineffective Collaboration: No Horn Sign
Agile vouches for colocation and face-to-face communication which is not possible in large enterprises with globally distributed teams. In such a setup, teams generally tend to work in silos, and when there are dependencies, all hell breaks loose. For better communication and coordination, enterprises can leverage collaboration tools like Video conferencing and Agile project management products.
10. Lack of Automation: Pedestrian-only Sign
Agile without automation is like driving your brand new sports car on a mud track and ultimately blaming the car's engine for your failures. Without a robust automation ecosystem in place, the teams will struggle to keep up with the pace (and quality) that Agile warrants.
Published at DZone with permission of Smitha Pereira, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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