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Friday, June 5, 2015

What's wrong with Agile?

A few contrarian views - picked up from the public Internet:

"The biggest failure with "Agile" teams is a result of what is called Cargo Culting. Essentially, teams want the effects of successful agile teams so they mimic the visible actions
  1. Daily standups (that run for an hour or so)
  2. Breaking work into sprints
  3. User stories (that are usually little more than a sentence but an estimate is expected)
Those are the three that you'll see consistently "applied" in these environments but very little commitment to actually being agile. In fact you'll hear management say we're "doing agile." (Run away at those two words it's a bad sign.)
You'll also hear a lot about technical debt but their definition of technical debt is "do it quick and dirty and maybe we'll get around to making it better later." (Translation: we are going to make it sound like we're concerned with maintainability but in reality we will keep the same boiler room mentality because that's what's worked for us in the past).
Other key phrases: "I know these stories aren't fully defined but we're doing agile so we can fix them as we go."
"We're doing agile development so you should be able to accommodate what I need within the sprint as I identify it."
"We're not able to lock down our committed stories at the beginning of the sprint because needs keep changing mid-sprint."
The key indicator on whether an Agile project will be successful is if the project lead (scrum master or whatever role) has had experience or formal training on leading an agile project. Too often I've seen people read about Agile in a book or take a two day course on being a scrum master and think they've got the chops to successfully implement it. Sorry it ain't happening captain."

"I can't take this Agile..."
"What's wrong with agile development..."
"Seven Things I Hate About Agile"

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I am a senior software developer working for General Motors Corporation.. I am interested in intelligent computing and scientific computing. I am passionate about computers as enablers for human imagination. The contents of this site are not in any way, shape, or form endorsed, approved, or otherwise authorized by HP, its subsidiaries, or its officers and shareholders.

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