Breaking the Agile Rules

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Multiple times I have seen the agile rules and agile principles adjusted to fit a team and a company but when are we adjusting to make a team/company work better, and when are we simply falling back to our old waterfall habits?

I have heard the phrase “we are only bending the agile principles for now” too often in companies. It seems that as soon as we get into a critical path with our projects or crisis mode we forget all the agile principles and procedures. Instead of using agile to get the team through this stage we fall back to what we know. What is so surprising is that agile was invented to prevent projects from going into crisis mode. What is still not understood in the corporate world is that projects are basically still run the same way.

Here are a few things that caught my attention when I looked into the issue of breaking Agile principles:

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  • Still selling our projects through sales teams that give timelines to the clients but don’t have a clue on the detail.
  • Not doing our boundary meetings properly. If we groom properly we can plan properly to give an estimate timeline.
  • Not talking to our experts. Product owners are still committing for the teams on the work that needs to be done during a cycle.
  • Companies are starting with their agile journey but forget to take their clients on the journey with them.Companies do not have a basic product. They give their clients an open canvas and then over commit to what can and can’t be done.

Agile can’t be a change that just happens in the IT workshop. It must be an organisational change that has everyone’s commitment to stay within the boundaries of this delivery approach. Yes this approach is flexible and gives us a lot of freedom. But if we are not careful we can quickly change agile to be just another form of waterfall.


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