Sometimes we know something is wrong, but we do not what is the problem exactly. I might be able to shed some insight on Agile problems that you might be facing. These are the top 5 Agile diseases:

1- If your Scrum implementation is suffering from:

  • You have long standups
  • ignoring the retrospective as a way to improve the way we work
  • working on “urgent” stories during the sprint.
Disease: Framework headache The Agile doctor prescribes : Read up on scrum and the scrum guide and understand what you are not doing correctly.

2- If your Agile implementation has:

  • Large backlogs that rarely change
  • Release cycles are longer than 2 months
  • We need to finish # of stories more than 2 months into the future
Disease: Refusal to learn. You do not approach complex problems trying to understand what works best, and it is impossible to build a solution without experimentation. You are also missing out on capturing value by delivering faster. The Agile doctor prescribes : Think shorter cycles of learning, releasing and capturing value. Challenge the dependencies you believe exist between the pieces of work as usually those constraints are just in our heads.

3- If in your Agile implementation:

  • People are told what and how to do work
  • Stories are planned with little to no discussion
  • There are teams inside the team
Disease: Push Agile. The agile implementation is pushed and there is not discussion or even shared values and goals between everyone. The Agile doctor prescribes :A balanced pull and push system where what needs to be done is suggested and feedback is incorporated, and then the team presents how they believe it is best to deliver it and that is discussed as well.

4- If in your Agile implementation:

  • Stories are not ready to be started
  • Commitments are demanded but no answers are given during sprints
  • Confusing commitments with promises
Disease: lopsided Agile or one sided Agile. This is where only the people doing the work (or developers) must be Agile, not everyone. The Agile doctor prescribes: Leaders need to be Agile as well, working with the teams to uncover better ways of work and help teams deliver better value.

5- Ultimately if in your Agile implementation has problems if:

  • Your customers are unhappy
  • Your employees are unhappy
  • You are unhappy and maybe even feel burned out
Disease: Zombie Agile. Or Fake Agile. This Agile does not have a soul and only looks like Agile from the outside. The Agile doctor prescribes : Do Agile, Be Agile.  Agile is a way of thinking, a mindset in addition to the structures that can help that mindset thrive. Forget that and the results will be clear.

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