Agile Software Development is a set of software development methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve via collaboration between self-organizing and cross-functional teams. Agile focuses on simple code, regular testing and early delivery.
Agile adoption for project management is a growing trend in the field of software development. Businesses who adopt an Agile methodology want to be flexible. They want new products, services without waiting for months or even years and to get benefits of faster delivery and higher quality.
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However, Agile adoption does not always go well. We have collected some common mistakes that you could probably make during the implementation. Hope this approach will help you avoid potential Agile failure and succeed quickly.
Table of Contents
Discipline undervalued in Agile
Although Agile is based largely on flexibility, it actually requires a firm discipline to work out. A lack of discipline, which can be derived from misinterpretation or deviation from the planned framework, can be the main cause of failure in Agile adoption.
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Agile underlines the importance of discipline because a project is managed strictly from planning to launching, with stakeholders’ review and feedback provided at every step of the way. Therefore it is advisable to have a close team collaboration as well as proper plans. Everything should be tracked meticulously and finished within predetermined time and constraints. That is to say, a plan should be followed to the minute and nothing is omitted.
One process is enough
It is easy for Scrum to be incorrectly regarded as the definition of agility in spite of the fact that Scrum is just one approach to Agile. Scrum is unquestionably powerful, but that is not sufficient enough for Agile adoption.
The use of Scrum only focuses on how to plan and execute a project in short sprints and adapt to feedback and it can be wrongly perceived that all problems can be solved by Scrum. If you ask why it is because Scrum reveals nothing about technical discipline or how developers should work.
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Many business teams adopt Scrum in the absence of the technical practices that are required to deliver new products. It is highly recommended that Scrum should be adopted in tight companion with other techniques, such as Extreme Programming (XP).
Lacking feedback from customers
Whether your product makes sense or not is totally decided by customers as well as the end users. You can not build a satisfactory product without a comprehensive understanding of the customers’ wishes. It is a normal practice that market analysts are the proxy of customers, however, they can not adequately represent customers due to their lack of involvement in the user community.
In fact, customers should be regarded as a member of the product development team and involved in the very early stage of the project. Along with that, customer feedbacks should be collected within a reasonable time for product revising. Proper customer collaboration is difficult but well worth the effort. In the end, this is what “Customer collaboration over contract negotiation” (Agile Manifesto) is about.
Testing is obviously an indispensable factor that ensures the quality of any product. The product owner shouldn’t accept a product until he knows it has met all the criteria formulated by the product development team, and this can only be done by testing. If you think testing is the last thing to be conducted, you are wrong.
Quite the contrary, testing that is similar to data creation, environment setup must be addressed at the beginning stage of the project. This is to make sure the quality of incremental delivery meets up the team’s expectation. However, testing usually confronts some obstacles: taking on a legacy application with no existing test suites, lack of tools for application, lack of knowledge and so on. When the products get complicated, manual and automated testing methods should be combined to deliver the best performance.
Fail to create Cross-Functional Team The term “cross-functional team” is used to describe a team made up of members with different functional expertise. For Agile adoption, teams with entirely separate functions can cause confusion and miscommunication leading to confliction while working. For example, instead of an IOS team, an Android team and a Test team totally independent from one another, you should create a team that includes members from all of 3 teams above.
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This is mostly because Agile involves continuous iteration between team members to facilitate synchronization, therefore it would be much wiser if all the departmental boundaries are eliminated. Effective Agile leaders should create environments where knowledge is shared and skills are transferred.
The term “cross-functional team” is used to describe a team made up of members with different functional expertise. For Agile adoption, teams with entirely separate functions can cause confusion and miscommunication leading to confliction while working.
For example, instead of an IOS team, an Android team and a Test team totally independent from one another, you should create a team that includes members from all of 3 teams above. This is mostly because Agile involves continuous iteration between team members to facilitate synchronization, therefore it would be much wiser if all the departmental boundaries are eliminated. Effective Agile leaders should create environments where knowledge is shared and skills are transferred.
Lack of preparation for Agile transfer
It is quite ill-considered to implement Agile when your business is not ready. Good preparation for Agile is a combination of various factors. It could be the team members’ willingness to adopt changes, sufficient education and training or infrastructure. As a matter-of-fact, you can not expect a smoothly-ran process with a tight time frame and inexperienced team members.
You should give your team the necessary time and proper training to get ready for the organizational and cultural changes that Agile may bring to your company. In addition, the test for infrastructure should not be skipped and the Agile Manifesto and principles should be well-educated as well.
Communication plays a fundamental role in success in any organisation. Bad communication can cause conflicts among members and failure, especially when it comes to Agile methodology in which team members have to be ready to welcome changes anytime, even at the final stage of development.
Of all communication channels, face-to-face meeting remains the most effective one for the reason that visions and insights will be hard to be shared and educated without physical conversation. Besides this, it’s much easier to convey ideas directly on a whiteboard than explain them in detailed documents. Face-to-face is the most preferred type of communication, decisions can be made quickly and delay in further planning can be avoided, followed by video conference and phone conversation. If team members are working at the same physical location, then a face-to-face conversation is the best way to go. Otherwise, video chat would be good.