Why Agile is broken

We love agile project management because it reflects the way we get work done in an agency world. 🌎 👀 But more and more we feel lost using multiple tools at once just to fulfil the simplest internal and external needs.

David von Shelfd
Published in
4 min readSep 7, 2017


How hard can it be? Your team wants to manage running projects in one place, create and assign tasks, exchange comments and view the progress. Maaaybe you even want to invite the client to collaborate, 💪 if you are bold enough. Sadly, current solutions don’t allow you to do this. They are either incapable of handling all the needs, overloaded with detailed functionality or built for a specific use case.

That’s why we decided to build our very own planning tool called Scrumpy. We will share more 🐱 insights over time, but first of all, let’s stick to Agile, shall we? (Sign up for our mailing list, if you can’t wait to get more information) Lately, we have asked around and talked to many likeminded people about working Agile. And it turns out that many do think it is broken. Here are the top 🔢 reasons:

1⃣ Task management doesn’t empower you

Planning suffers from being forced top-down. In most cases there is a person like the product owner or scrum master who oversees the whole process and splits the project into micro tasks, so everyone knows exactly what to do and in which order. That is, however, totally at odds with the inventor’s intention. The Agile manifesto says, “The best architectures, requirements and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” Do you know any tool that empowers team members to comply with it? Considering this, how should teams be motivated enough when they are always being told what to do? What you get are grumpy employees who don’t feel responsible at all.

2⃣ Issue tracking is not Agile at all

The moment you finish one task, the following task might change completely. But today we do care more about complex to-do lists than about an agile process. In many cases, working off your schedule only means getting stuck in the structure. There is just no more space available for recalibration, flexibility or to catch a breath. Agile planning should at least reflect the possibility to change your timeline, scope or priorities — if not complete direction or product.

3⃣ Scrum until the end

Most teams working Agile use Scrum as their preferred development methodoligy. They try to forecast the output by dealing with story points. The more points they have achieved at the last sprint, the more likely they will get a similiar amount of work done at the next sprint. But this procedure can increase the velocity of a team in a heartbeat and lead into a top-class burnout. Please note: You don’t want that! Just think of the effort that is needed to finish a task. Sometimes you finish it in only half of the time focusing 100 percent on it. And the next time the same task will take you twice as long with only 50 percent of your focus. There is just no rational behind following the Scrum guidelines until the very end.

4⃣ Don’t fall in love with your solution

Did you ever try to stay Agile, but felt like the more you try, the more it becomes an obstacle to your work? Well, in this case you might just fell in love with your solution and stop focussing on the actual problem instead. No wonder, you have already had a great idea and it’s natural to do everything to bring the product to life. But building the solution should never be your main driver. Instead you always should focus on solving problems for the customers. And your tools, you need to provide to do so, can change over time. This is exactly why most products and companies fail over time! It’s because they strictly hold on to their very own direction and completely miss to stay Agile at all. But isn’t it what we all want to achive?

We do build Scrumpy with that in mind. Of course we can’t change all of them, but we try our very best. ✌️

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