New to agile? Don’t settle for mediocrity

James Shore recently changed the entire focus of his company. This blog entry gives his reasons why. The blog post really struck a chord with me because I often use the phrase “To me mediocre is not acceptable.” Now I’ve found someone that agrees with me!  To me there is nothing worse than seeing a team not reaching their full potential because they are unable to see the problems they are causing themselves.  In fact, some teams even laugh about it when it is pointed out to them!  Grrr, don’t let that happen to you.  Read on for some things to watch out for.

There are many ways mediocrity can appear and seem harmless. If you are new to agile, here are a few that you need to be careful about.

  • Daily stand-up meetings taking more than 15 minutes
  • Team members being late to meetings
  • “Just a little” testing not completed within the iteration
  • Not inviting users, customers or stakeholders to iteration demos
  • A retrospective where no action items for improvement are created
  • Decreasing the committed scope of an iteration
  • Team members not working on stories in priority order
  • Boring daily stand-up, retrospective or planning meetings
  • Defects regularly being found after an iteration is completed
  • Iteration planning taking forever because the Product Owner is not ready
  • Lack of release planning
  • The big picture for the project is never made clear

There are many more things which could become commonplace and accepted.


Once you allow mediocrity (or worse!) to occur once, it suddenly becomes accepted behavior.  Do yourself and your team a favor and insist mediocrity is not acceptable!

Until next time I’ll be standing my ground on this issue while Making Agile a Reality™ for my clients.

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  1. Great list. The one item that resonated with me the most was the reference to the daily standup meetings, which I feel strongly should hold a place in everyone’s process (agile or not). The meetings have to stay on track to deliver full value.

    Check out my recent blog post on the power of the daily standup:

    I love the line “Don’t settle for mediocrity”. Once you do you might as well go home.


  2. […] As you can see, replacing the battery would not have fixed the entire problem.  Too often I find software teams asking “why?” only once, which will almost universally lead to a band-aid fix.  Asking “why?” 5 times can help, but it rarely shows the interdependence between problems.  It is a good method, but it is not the BEST method, and as readers of this blog know, I don’t accept mediocrity! […]

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