Following participation at agile2012 and agile Day ’12, Cyrus Innovation, a software development and process improvement company specializing in the agile model, unveiled the most common missteps taken by organizations that have beginner to intermediate experience with agile development.
“Based on our experience, we frequently see IT teams who start down the agile development path with good intentions, but lack a clear understanding of what milestones they need to reach in order to make their efforts successful,” said Jason Reid, director of strategic planning at Cyrus. “While agile is by no means a one-size-fits-all methodology, there are relatively simple adjustments that can be made by most to put practitioners back on the right track.”
This slideshow features some of the top mistakes that companies make with agile development, as identified by Cyrus Innovation.
Click through for the most common missteps taken by organizations with beginner to intermediate experience with agile development, as identified by Cyrus Innovation.
There are plenty of great reasons to transition to agile, but there’s also at least one bad one: buzzword compliance. Companies need to develop and communicate a concrete vision and expectations for their increased agility. It is also important to hire and train thoughtful and knowledgeable people to help the organization meet those expectations. By setting tangible goals for the enterprise, stakeholders are far more likely to see positive results.
Software development is as much about effective interpersonal and business communication as it is about technology. Many agile fundamentals require an open exchange of goals, risks and feedback between team members and stakeholders. While it’s common for team members to prefer “hard” technical discussions to “soft” interpersonal interactions, the reverse are often needed in order to be successful.
Just because someone is a brilliant software developer or business analyst does not mean he or she will excel with agile. Healthy skepticism is acceptable, but people who stubbornly insist on working and being evaluated separately from their team often struggle to find their footing with agile. Software development is a team sport. Superstars are great, but ultimately it’s how the whole team performs that matters.
Far too many organizations today continue to keep a wall between “cross-functional” agile teams and quality assurance departments. If QA teams have to triage their testing due to a large number of bugs, it’s a sign that more attention to quality is needed earlier in the process. Improved, ongoing collaboration between QA and development will lead to defects being found earlier, when they’re less costly to fix and less likely to have spread throughout the software.
While it’s sensible for companies to start out by doing agile “by the book,” the reality is that soon after people will encounter situations where the textbook approach isn’t a fit for their organization. If the company doesn’t make a habit of investigating possible outcomes and thoughtfully evolving its practices, then one of two painful things will happen. Employees will continue to use a less-than-ideal approach, or they’ll simply modify processes on their own. Either action will ultimately yield decreased morale and productivity.