Friday, July 11, 2008

Agile Smells - Do you need agile deodorant?

"Agile Smells" is a catalog of warning signs that your agile project may (or may not) be about to go horribly wrong.

Let me contribute a few other smells I've come across:

"Can you change that estimate? / Can you revise the remaining estimates DOWN?"

This is a variation of Executive Pressure. After a few sprints the teams velocity stabilizes and it becomes clear the hoped for project deadline can not be met. Instead of adjusting the usual project management variables - time, scope, resources (and quality, although quality should be the last variable to be sacrificed) - the initial reaction is to apply pressure to the developers to work longer hours . In most cases it was not the developers who set the original project deadline. A more constructive approach is to and adjust the usual variables as the project progresses.


"You can't change your mind. It's been signed off!" You're still thinking waterfall. Accept that the business owners will change their minds - for any number of reasons - even after the corresponding story has been completed. Any changes become a new story, which of course has to be prioritised.

"What is a chicken?"

Although people may say they have committed to using agile it is often not a priority for them to do some basic reading on the subject. For example, I've lent people the very thin and straight-to-the-point Agile Software Development with Scrum, but if a few days later they can't tell me the story of the Chicken and the Pig then I know they are not that interested in the subject.

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