To err is human: We all make mistakes at some point in time. But we should not make the same mistakes over and over again.
This even applies when you try to adopt an agile methodology for your company.
Here is a list of the most common mistakes that companies make while trying to adopt an agile methodology and you can use this information to avoid committing them yourself.
It is good to learn from your mistakes, but it is even better to learn from others’ mistakes. So, let’s take a look at them.
1. Mistaking Agile Adoption for Tool Adoption
Many people tend to confuse adopting a particular tool with adopting agile methods. They start by adopting a tool and then forget the importance of agile.
Agile is something different and you cannot achieve any immediate effect with the help of tools, since a single tool is not going to solve all your problems.
Instead, you need comprehensive agile planning to solve your problems. You should understand that adopting a tool is only part of the more important agile method and hence you should only give the necessary amount of focus to the tool.
2. A Lack of Discipline
Although agile may seem like an ad hoc and counter-intuitive approach, it is actually very much a disciplined approach as traditional methods of development.
Failing to recognize this fact is a major mistake many companies make. You must have complete team coordination as well as proper plans and schedules to finish everything on time and within the set constraints.
You should be tracking all the stories to their closure, make estimations and make sure everything goes according to the plan and nothing is left out.
3. Not Setting Clear Goals
Now this is a deadly mistake you have to avoid at all costs. Do not adopt agile just because everyone else is doing it or simply because your customers asked you to be agile.
You have to be completely sure that agile methods fit your project goals and only then proceed with the agile adoption.
Also, adopting agile without a clear goal can only lead to more problems. So, you must establish what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it.
Define your expected results and the relevant measures to evaluate those results. All your agile team members must be focused on the common goals and to do this you can set goals for every sprint and iteration.
Keep on monitoring your activities and tracking whether you are getting close to achieving your set goals.
4. Relying on Only One Process
Many companies tend to start with a single process, such as scrum, and come to the wrong conclusion that it is sufficient enough for their agile adoption.
Though adopting a single process looks easy, its effects are short term. You should focus more on the core agile values, including communication, collaboration, feedback, trust and passion, than to trust a single process.
5. Limiting Customer Feedback
Constant customer feedback is one characteristic that defines agile. Without the fast feedback you’re your customers, you may end up creating something really bad.
The methods could go wrong, which is forgivable, but if the product goes wrong, the implications are disastrous.
So, never forget the goodness of getting regular feedback from your customers. Even though a customer feedback may look redundant, it is the one thing guiding you to the right path.
6. Separating Your Teams
Keeping your business and development teams separate will only cause more confusion. You should have a highly cohesive and cross-functional agile team and this team should preferably be within a single building.
Agile does not promote separate functional departments and functional teams and you should understand that.
7. Not Planning for Agile Transfer
Your team members need to prepare themselves for the organizational and cultural changes that an agile adoption will bring to the company.
Responsibilities and roles may change and you have to expect some natural reaction to these changes. So, do not just introduce the agile method with a project and rather give your team the necessary time and training to make the adoption successful.
You should invest in the long-term education of your employees on the agile methods and tools.
8. Not Seeking Professional Help
If you are going to include agile training in your plan, it makes sense to hire professional help to assist you in preparing yourself for agile adoption.
The sad reality is that many companies either do not seek such help or get stuck with someone who only has expertise in one thing. You need help from someone with actual experience in the field to give the proper training.
9. A Lack of Proper Testing
Rapid application development, be it mobile app development or PHP website development, during the agile approach sometimes calls for lesser quality assurance activities in each iteration and leads to a lack of testing.
This could affect the quality of the product and you should thus develop an effective test plan that addresses everything from data creation, to test cases to environmental setup.
The testing issues should all be addressed early on in the project to make sure the early increments in the incremental delivery are also of good quality. You should also include automation testing as a way to improve quality.
10. Playing the Blame Game
Many people try to make excuses for their failures by blaming it all on agile. You should not be pointing at the wrong reasons for your failures.
Follow a proper root cause analysis to derive the exact root cause of every problem you incurred and avoid placing the blame on agile blindly.
Agile is a methodology that is always evolving and you should be vigilant while you adopt it if not while you perfect it.
Let us learn from each other’s mistake and try to be more reflective in our approach. Do you have any suggestions? Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions and feedbacks on similar mistakes and ways to avoid it. Thanks for reading!