Common Mistakes Agile Development Teams Make
November 10, 2020 / in Agile Method of Software Development,

Summary: Is your software team is considering transitioning to an agile development model? Before you do, read about these common agile mistakes to avoid. ​


Have you and your business decided to apply the agile method to your next project? There are several benefits to utilizing the agile methodology. But at the same time, it can be a daunting experience for some if they're only familiar with the more traditional approaches, such as waterfall.

Not every team succeeds in their first attempt at agile development. It might even take a few trials and projects before you get it right and discover the best way to apply to your business.

But what if you don't have time to spare and need to get it right on your first go? Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to avoid the most common agile mistakes. Keep reading if you want to make sure that your project is nothing but a success.

1. Establish Clear Roles

It's important to distinguish roles when working in an agile environment, especially the scrum master and project manager. They are not one and the same.

The scrum master is there to facilitate conversation and ensure tasks are allocated and accounted for. The project manager is to ensure everything is running to plan and is on-time. They also communicate up the ladder to the relevant stakeholders on the status of the project.

Once it's clear who is responsible for what, it is much easier to progress forward with tasks. It also helps know who the right people are to converse with when you hit obstacles.

2. Managing Resistance to Change

One of the big agile development mistakes is not communicating with the rest of the company that you're moving to a new project methodology. Especially if you have to rely on other teams outside of the project group to deliver on tasks.

One of the biggest problem areas is often data teams as they're not always comfortable with flexible and nimble project. It's best to bring them into the loop before the project begins and explain their role. The sooner you can establish a rhythm with them, the faster you'll find you're moving cards to the completed column.

3. Make Time for Planning

Some agile projects can run the risk of trying to go too fast and cutting corners to finish a task. However, a successful project ensures they allow enough time to thoroughly plan how it will get off and running.

A proper planning session with a cross-functional team is what will help determine how fast the project can go. If it's done right, then the individual groups are able to work more independently and not worry about tasks getting allocated to the wrong people.

4. Stay Flexible

Rigid procurement procedures can kill an agile project as it locks in fixed deliverables. But an agile project is fluid and adapts to change as requirements or technology evolves. While a set outcome can provide some direction, flexible contracts with suppliers are preferable as they can get reviewed as needs change throughout the process.

5. Only Use Complete User Stories

Your user stories help define requirements and plan upcoming sprints. These should get completed in the planning process and should get reviewed before becoming part of the project.

When incomplete user stories are discovered, it can impact the delivery of the sprint and the project as a whole. You'll need to chase requirements and start over the estimating sessions before you can progress otherwise, you risk problems occurring once everything is complete.

6. Overtesting

Testing is critical, no matter what type of project methodology you employ, including agile. But it is possible to perform too much testing, especially when it comes to minority scenarios or edge-cases.

If you test for every possibility and scenario, then the development of features can slow down. At the same time, you don't want to end a project with a backlog of errors and bugs to repair. It's important to find the right balance so that adequate testing can get performed, and you're continually moving forward with the project.

7. Team Barriers

If someone is assigned to an agile project, it's best to ensure they're dedicated to it and don't have too many other commitments. Priorities can get muddled when individuals are working on multiple projects and attempting to do their day job as well.

Try to dedicate a room for all team members instead so they can come and go as they're working on their tasks. Keeping them all in one space can improve communication and coordination while progressing the project forward.

8. The Definition of Done

There are always more features and enhancements that can get added. However, at some point, the project must come to an end. Otherwise, it can be difficult to start any new initiatives.

The definition of what the final delivery needs to get agreed upon as a team and communicated to the relevant stakeholders that it meets the company's requirements. Once this is established, then the team should know what they're working towards.

Do you need help transitioning to agile? 

Applying the agile method to a project takes time and patience in order to get it right and deliver a successful project. However, avoiding agile mistakes is also imperative as it can slow down development and leave the company out of time and money.

If you want to learn how to become agile focussed, then our consultants can help. We utilize our experience to help your team establish practices, become familiar with the processes, and learn the tools to complete a project.

Connect with us today or continue exploring all of our custom software development and remote staff augmentation services here.

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