Not all “agile” is agile

Recently someone related to me that “their new scrum master / agile coach insists on two week sprints.” What happened to “people over process“? Too many companies do the scrum ceremonies almost like a cargo cult and are very far from an agile culture.

Confused about agile at your company? Some of the better blogs I have read on related topics may help you. Forward the ones you agree with to people who can help you drive change.

At our company I am a project manager (not a scrum master). Our primary stakeholder does not have the time or technical knowledge to write stories that are small enough. My current team writes their own stories; we do not have a active product owner. We follow scrum as it suits us and I am sure we break some other rules as well.
We are agile because we deliver value frequently, take decisions and are responsible as a team, we consult our stakeholders often, and we respond to change.

In Why ​We are Forcing People to do Agile Paul Heidema points out problems with the agile transformation process at many companies and suggest several other approaches.

The blog Agile Isn’t New, It’s Just Common Sense Rebranded by Martyn Puddephatt shows that many agile ideas are not new and are common sense. Of course if an agile coach introduces some rules or processes “because that is how agile/scrum is done” without explaining what the benefits are you are no longer in common sense territory.

The PMO wants rigid milestones? Read So You Want More Predictability? by Tanner Wortham.

If the PMO wants everyone to use the same agile framework, story point definition, etc. read Apply Consistent Metrics Categories Across an Agile Portfolio by Scott Ambler on how to provide consistent metrics across teams without forcing them to work in a specific way

I am a strong proponent of stable teams. This is based on experience and not on some agile rule. However, read The Hawthorne Effect Revisited by Dave Nicolette to learn about some of the concerns around stable teams.

Please let me know of any other blogs on these topics.

The opinions represented in this blog are my own, and not that of my employer or the  organizations that I work with.


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