Modern Agile insights that help you advance

The practicality of Modern Agile

In the past few weeks I’ve have stumbled upon various examples of unwise practices. The trick is to recognize them and learn from it. The Modern Agile wheel is a great tool that helps you doing this with relative ease.

Below are some examples of these practices.

Working overtime to make the sprint

This is one of the most recognizable dysfunctions of Scrum. The team bends over backwards to finish all items they said they would finish during the sprint planning. You can bring in the Modern Agile principle “Make people awesome” and argue that the team might feel awesome about the fact that they “made the sprint”, but you can be sure this will not last very long.

If you want people to feel awesome, step away from the ‘make the sprint’ practice. Plan less in the sprint, give people breathing space.

Make safety a prerequisite, only in good times

Safety as meant with the Modern Agile principle ‘Make safety a prerequisite’ has many angles. You might automatically think about safety of employees, but I am choosing to tackle user safety now.

How often does it happen that the quality standards that we must adhere to conveniently are thrown out of the window when pressure is on? Like skipping testing because time is money.

The principle ‘Make safety a prerequisite’ helps you to constantly assess how you are doing in regards of safety. You are enabled to ask the question: do we want this situation and risk an unsafe experience for our client? The answer probably is ‘No’ and with that you can work towards a solution.

Feature factory

Many teams break features down in epics and stories and then pick up the stories one by one. There might be priority changes and stories added, but the focus of the team is on getting the stories and feature done and then to move on to the next. These teams might be working as a feature factory.

Modern Agile principle ‘Experiment and learn rapidly’ helps as a reference here. Ask yourself: how often are we doing small experiments and learn from this fast? Isn’t this a better way to find out if we are working on the stuff that people really want? This principle invites you to ask this question in all sorts of situations, not only while building the product.

There is another Modern Agile principle very relevant here: ‘Deliver value continuously’. You might reflect that you deliver items very fast, but that you are perhaps not delivering the items with the highest value. Or that you might not work on the feature with the highest value. With that notion you can change things.

Is your organization allowing you to point out and address dysfunctions as mentioned above? If so, then don’t despair. You can’t do everything perfect the first time. This conveniently relates to one of the principles of Modern Agile too: Experiment and learn rapidly!

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