Are you among the people in software engineering who think agile is a panacea for all project ills? Do you believe that by simply instituting agile, your team will be able to crush deadlines and ship better products than with any other methodology? Unfortunately, no. Even though agile projects are less than half as likely to fail compared to waterfall projects, agile fails to prove a clear benefit when used incorrectly. Here are some of the problems that plague even well-organized agile teams and kill projects before they can bloom.
Not Everything Works With Agile
1. The team isn’t self-organizing.
If you’re not self-organizing, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your team. If they’re not self-managing, then that’s also a problem. Are they self-motivating and self-directing? Do they have the ability to be self-reliant? Or are they unable to achieve any of these traits?
If the answers are no or maybe, it might be time for reevaluation. The agile methodology was designed with flexibility in mind, so if your team isn’t able to meet the spirit of agile or is struggling with its goals and principles, there could be many reasons why this is happening.
2. Team members don’t understand how to use the methodology.
The Agile Manifesto is clear: “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” If you’re having trouble with your team’s understanding of the methodology, you might be able to resolve some things by educating them on their responsibilities in the project.
If you need to get everyone up to speed on how to use the methodology, try holding training sessions for everyone involved with the project. Make sure that all team members have a basic understanding of agile development and know its principles before they begin working on any aspect of your product or service. This will help ensure that they’ll be able to use all aspects of agile development effectively throughout their work.
Once everyone has been trained in agile techniques and best practices, make sure it’s easy for them to access materials like checklists. Hence, they know what steps must be taken before starting each task—this will allow them to take full advantage of their newfound knowledge.
3. The team doesn’t know how to prioritize appropriately.
Agile teams are supposed to be able to tackle any task, no matter how large or small. That’s a significant part of the agile methodology: It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as it helps the project move forward. But this approach has a problem: if you prioritize everything equally, nothing gets done at all.
Prioritization is one of the most critical skills for an agile team member (or manager). The goal is simple—ensure that the most important work gets done first, followed by other crucial tasks. If you don’t know how to do this correctly, you’ll waste time on tasks that aren’t critical and rarely produce results worth talking about afterward.
4. There’s no customer input regarding feedback or product development.
If you’re following the agile methodology correctly, your customers should be able to give feedback and input on all aspects of product development. If they can’t do that—if they’re not involved in how their product is being built or marketed—then you have a problem.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that every customer wants to micromanage every aspect of every project. Sometimes they want an idea of what’s going on to feel like part of the process and ensure everything’s going well. They might also want to help develop certain features or have some input on their development cycle. But either way, if your customers aren’t involved in some way with what you’re doing here (or if they are but don’t seem to realize it), then something isn’t right!
5. You do not see any benefits from going agile.
If you do not see any benefits from going agile, it’s probably because your project doesn’t need to be agile. If this is the case, your project probably shouldn’t be using a framework like Scrum or Kanban! If we were working together on your project, I would tell you that if we aren’t getting any real value out of being agile—as opposed to just enjoying the feeling of being more flexible and empowered—then maybe it’s time for us to stop trying so hard and try something else instead.
Don’t feel bad if you think agile isn’t working for your team. As we said earlier in this post, agile isn’t right for every business because different types of organizations have different needs based on their goals and resources. The important thing is not to keep trying something that isn’t working when other options are available.
6. Lack of experience.
This is where the agile methodology fails. You need to be confident, and you need to trust your team. If you lack experience, you’re probably not going to have either of these things. This can lead to communication problems and poor teamwork.
7. Lack of effective communication.
If your team has no experience, then there’s a good chance they aren’t communicating effectively with each other, and that will cause problems when working on projects together.
8. No clear goal in mind.
Agile is not a magic wand that will solve all your problems. It’s a methodology used to achieve project goals, but it’s not the goal itself. Agile can be applied to many projects, but not all of them. That’s why we need to give context when talking about “agile”—it depends on the project we are working on!
So what does this mean? It means that if you are working on an agile project and have no clear goal in mind, or if you have a specific goal but no clear path towards achieving it, then be prepared for some bumps along the way!
Agile Methodology is Not The Only Way to Achieve Project Goals
If you have been working in the software development industry for a while, the chances are that you have heard of agile. The agile methodology has taken over many organizations and is a smart way to plan projects.
However, agile is not the only way to achieve project goals, but it is undoubtedly one of the most popular options. This approach has allowed many teams to work more effectively and efficiently while keeping them motivated throughout their projects. We hope that the information outlined above will help you determine whether agile methodology fits within your company’s culture and budget before deciding whether it’s right for you.
Next in this series, we’ll discuss how the agile methodology can benefit your team with foundational steps to get started.