What Agile is Not – 9 Misconceptions
- Project executed along agile principles can also fail and face issues like missed deadlines, over budgeting, and changed requirements.
- While agile pushes back on documentation, it identifies it as an essential model of communication.
- Agile expects the plan to change with the requirement and feedbacks.
Agile is a methodology to manage a project that uses iterative and incremental approaches during project execution. Organizations across the globe have been using agile to boost their project success. While Agile is widely used, there are several misconceptions related to the methodology.
Due to its flexibility, people often relate agile with a lack of planning or structure. While it is essential to understand what agile is, it is also crucial to understand what agile is not. This is the area that we will focus upon in this iteration of agile learning.
1. Not a Silver Bullet
Like all other project management methodologies and techniques, agile does not guarantee the success of the project. Project executed along agile principles can also fail and face issues like missed deadlines, over budgeting, and changed requirements. Like any other project management methodologies, it is essential in agile project management to bring the development team and the client close and provide all the indispensable resource to the development team.
2. Not Anti-Documentation
Agile manifesto values working software over comprehensive documentation. However, this has led to the misinterpretation that agile is anti-documentation. This is not correct. A better way to put it would be that agile does not prefer documentation just for the sake of creating documents. While agile pushes back on documentation, it identifies it as an essential model of communication.
3. Not Anti-Planning
This myth may be farthest from the truth. Agile includes a lot of planning, ranging from daily planning in the form of daily standup to bi-weekly iteration planning and long term release planning. However, it is essential to note that Agile is anti-static planning. This means that agile expects the plan to change with the requirement and feedbacks.
4. Not Undisciplined
The flexibility offered by agile is often identified as a lack of discipline. However, agile is a very disciplined way of project management and includes:
i. Upfront testing
ii. Regular feedback
iii. Regular delivery of product iteration
iv. Constant analysis and updates in the plan
5. Not Anti-architecture
The 90s saw a great rush in the development of big, complex structures. However, these architectures were complex, expensive, and hard to maintain. Agile reintroduced the culture of keeping things simple. However, agile is not entirely devoid of architecture and includes serious thinking. It just identifies that the best way to build a system is to make it simple.
6. Not an Excuse for Poor Quality
The whole objective of executing projects through MVPs is to deliver products quickly while ensuring that the minimum quality standards are met. Agile, in no way support the delivery of substandard results. The iteration plan should include sample checks for each iteration.
7. Not about Isolation
While agile supports the idea of downscaling for efficiency, it does not promote isolation. Agile is not about product owner or scrum master hiding the team and often promotes interactions between teams. We have already mentioned that it is essential in agile execution to bring the development team and the client closer and facilitate fluent communication between the two and other units.
8. Not About Rituals
The iterative approach of agile should not be confused with being a ritual. If any step loses its utility during project execution, it should be eliminated or modified to deliver better results.
9. Not About Stuff from the Book
Very often, due to an inaccurate understanding of agile, organizations do things by the book. Story, points, velocity, POs, Scrum Master, user stories, etc. are items used by the agile team, but they are not the definition of agile. Teams fail when they pay more attention to these activities rather than understanding their work.
So this is it! This is an extensive list of things that agile is not. If you are planning to try agile, it is essential to kill any misconception about the methodology. Don’t opt for agile project management just because everyone uses it or because it seems to deliver better results. You need to ask yourself if you need agile.
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