Agile project management methodologies have provided a proven framework that has empowered countless software development companies to deliver releases rapidly, that cater their and their customer's needs.
The structure of agile teams is different than their waterfall counterparts. The structure of organization decides the structure of Waterfall teams and scheduling is often “top down,” means that management sets the pace and determines the schedule. However agile has different terminology. The team is self-organized in agile development. It decides its schedule depended on priorities from the product owner and the capacity of the team to execute the final version.
Still, organizations that are learning the Agile process and transitioning to a Scrum development cycle struggle to apply the theories in practice, especially when real life obstacles present themselves.
- What to do if a team member doesn’t buy into the
process orisn’t pulling his weight?
- What if a member is out sick during a sprint?
- How do you settle priorities when there is no support from the top?
Flexibility is essential with any framework. No development cycle runs the same, or perfectly. You need to understand the problems why your employees are not able to adopt agile quickly.
The techniques that comprise “Agile” will not solve any pertinent issue in an organization’s culture or “the way most of the employees behave most of the time.” Trust issues, lack of accountability, criticism, or courage are all readily revealed by Agile methods such as Scrum.
For example, Scrum’s focus to produce a potentially releasable product increment in each sprint may expose the broader organization to both the paucity of quality practices within software engineering as well as the “technical debt” from past development efforts that have not been paid yet.
Most organizations are not able to deal with such issues surfacing and, without a neutral party to manage and facilitate their resolution and exploration, most organizations often ignore them or blame Agile/Scrum for generating them.
Ken Schwaber is one of the co-founders of Scrum, said that “Scrum holds a mirror up to the organization.”
When it reflects back something, an organization does not like that and blames the “mirror” instead of focusing on the feedback provided objectively and deciding how to address it.
The teams are not independent to work
Scrum relies on autonomy and empowerment, and when a team isn’t able to work independently, you know there is a problem. It may be the team members who aren't able to adapt their new roles, says Michele Sliger, coauthor of The Software Project Manager’s Bridge to Agility. All too often, though, it’s an indication that a project manager has trouble in giving control.
If a manager is a control freak, he/she will be reluctant giving power to the team to take the decision.
The result is: If the team members don’t get the feel of being the part of the team, they will revert in accepting orders and will continue with their usual way of working they have always done, and you jump back to Waterfall. There will be a lack of accountability if a project manager does not give any ownership to team members thus loss of productivity overall.
Phobia of failure
In an organization, if there is a change then there will be resistance too. It’s not tough to imbibe the Agile thought process, but most companies have no such experience and expertise, so they fear the change that agile will bring. They have some financial plans to meet, and they fear to lose illusory control to fulfill their goal, which leads to hybrid Agile adoption.
Teams try to retrofit Agile into their current processes to become fail-safe but in reality that itself turns into the reason for failure because they never get to understand the real value of Agile adoption.
So how should a team counter this fear of failure? The best way is to embark on the Agile journey with the learning attitude confidently, with the most complicated and important thing first. Don’t go for the low-hanging fruit initially because that shows the lurking fear in mind.
If you have recently transitioned from Waterfall to Agile/Scrum, there are some key lessons which are necessary to understand.
- First, Agile and Scrum are transformational in the way that allows software development teams work in unison, and there is a need to have organizational buy-in and assistance from the top.
- The approach will likely be new or may sound complicated to your team members, be ready to fail fast and learn again. Newly-formed Scrum teams will take time to learn about different aspects, and early Sprints are mostly less productive. Over time, teams will become more productive through continuous improvements made coming out of the Sprint Retrospectives.
- Educating your team members about Scrum framework ahead of time will help in understanding the new terminology, and as a result, they will show interest and actively participate in learning it.
- You can even take agile scrum training. The course is developed to cater the goals of modern-day distributed scrum teams and helps to enhance business value by producing faster deliverables at the end of each sprint.
In the beginning, the learning curve may seem steep, over time the Scrum team becomes more efficient and accountable to each other, while simultaneously providing working software frequently to the clients. A complete win-win situation
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