Agile transformations do not take place overnight. They require discipline and consistent inspecting, adapting and following through. Any well-intended transformation is at risk of slipping back to old ways if certain challenges and pitfalls are not addressed and avoided.
Listed below are some of the major pitfalls organizations may face in their agile transitions:
- Double Work Agile. Organizations new to agile may expect to continue using traditional reports, artifacts and meetings, in addition to agile activities and artifacts. Teams will burn out quickly if expected to meet the demands of two very different approaches.
- Ineffective Product Owner. Without alignment between the business and development teams, projects will resemble traditional and waterfall projects as silo’d teams try to work together without clear and common vision.
- Discipline Slips. Returning to old ways is easy. Agility is not rudderless, but demands discipline and dedication to continuous improvement.
- Diluting Until Dead. When change is difficult, it is common for teams to start diluting proven agile practices in order to accommodate fears and frustrations, until the methods being used no longer resemble agility.
- Inappropriate Physical Environment. At the heart of agile values and principles are individuals, interactions, face-to-face communication and collaboration. Effectively applying these values and principles requires changes in physical environments. Sometimes even the simplest of changes get overlooked by teams that try to cut corners.
Professional transition support in the form of agile coaching and mentoring can be key in organizations ensuring they avoid these common pitfalls.