In this three-part series we hope to give you some useful tips on how to fix or improve your Agile Software development process, and more importantly, give you some insight on why you do not see the results you expected.
The popularity of Agile Software development caused many companies to jump in without fully realizing how radically different Agile is compared to a traditional method like Waterfall. They quickly conclude that Agile is not suited for their organization and go back to their trusted Waterfall. From our experience at Evolving Digital, we find that it’s not because the Agile process didn't work, but because they created a hybrid model - in essence, they were adding some Agile elements to a Waterfall process, creating a hybrid closer to Waterfall than Agile.
Hybrid model (Agile/Waterfall) does not work
If you take one thing away from this post, it should be this: Do not try to make your own hybrid model because it doesn't work. If you go down this road you will not see the benefits of Agile. At Evolving Digital we have seen this too many times, organizations butcher the Agile process to the extent that only a daily stand-up/scum remains Agile and everything else is the same old Waterfall.
Educate your management/sponsor
If you decided to transition from Waterfall to Agile you've committed your team, your department, and management to a very different process. Agile will change your budget conversations, and your scheduling process, so don't assume that applying Agile to a small team doesn't require stakeholder education. If you skip this vital step, your sponsor will correctly believe that it's business as usual and ask for Waterfall style project commitments.
Educate your team
Every Agile team member should understand their role and how they fit within a team. Asking your ScrumMaster and Product Owner to attend training is not enough. Everyone on the team must understand the process. How will the Agile process impact testing? How will it impact requirements gathering? When does Design come into play? When everyone on the team understands the process and their role, only then will you have a high performing cross-functional team.
Don't apply typical Waterfall contracts to Agile teams
If you force or sweet-talk your Agile team into committing to a project with a fixed scope, fixed price, and fixed timeline you're setting them up for failure. This comes back to the previous point of trying to create a hybrid model (Agile/Waterfall); it just doesn't work. You can achieve the same end goal with a well written Agile contract.
In Part 2 we continue with tips on how to fix your Agile Software development process. Improve you Agile Process - Part 2.
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