What looked like a good idea back in the 1990ies—outsourcing software development as a non-essential business area—has meanwhile massively backfired for a lot of legacy organizations. While they try to become more appealing to product and software developers, they still have difficulties understanding what it takes to build an attractive product/engineering culture. Learn more about typical anti-patterns and signs that an organization is causing a toxic team culture, impeding its efforts to become agile.
TL; DR: Lipstick Agile — Happiness in the Trenches?
Have you noticed how many people in the agile field are unhappy with their work situation? A situation where an organization already struggles doing agile, not to mention ‘becoming agile?’ This is what I call lipstick Agile.
Scrum Masters and agile coaches are close to either burnout or indifference. Product Owners who “own” the product by name only, and developers questioning why “Agile” is imposed upon them and often turns out to be just another form of micromanagement.
Let’s stop guessing and start crowdsourcing data and information on this critical topic: Who is using what metrics under which context to what success? Participate in the agile metrics survey now.
Update 2020-07-21: We reopened the survey! We have joined forces with empiriks.de, a German consultancy specializing in statistical analysis, and we plan to take the study to the next level. The Agile Metrics Survey already complies with academic standards. However, what we need now is more participants to improve the sample size. So far, we have 535 contributors; let’s strive for 1,000 contributions. A first article based on the preliminary findings is already in the works. I will keep you posted!
TL; DR: Scrum’s Nature: It Is a Tool; It Is Not About Love or Hate
Regularly, we find articles from developers detailing why ‘Agile’ in general and Scrum’s nature, in particular, deserve our collective disdain.
What has always struck me in this discussion is its emotionality. Scrum is a tool, useful to accomplish one primary task: delivering value to customers of emergent products in complex environments while mitigating an organization’s exposure to risk at the same time. So, if Scrum is not working in an organization, maybe it is because Scrum is applied to the wrong cause in the first place. Or, that its application has been mechanical, driven by folks who don’t know what they are doing. (Seriously, how hard can Scrum be if the manual comprises of 18 pages, right?)
The question then is: Why would I “hate” a tool unsuited for the intended purpose or applied incompetently? Would I hate a hammer for not being capable of accurately driving a screw into a wooden beam? Probably not, as the hammer wasn’t designed for that purpose, and neither sheer will-power nor stamping with your feet will change the fact.
Do you need an emergency fund as a change agent—whether you are acting as Scrum Master, Product Owner, or agile coach—because conflict is inevitable, but change is not? Speaking truth to power probably comes at a price.
In my experience, speaking truth to power, pointing at the emperor’s new clothes and the reality in the trenches, is necessary a trait for every change agent — including Scrum Masters and agile coaches — in organizations that lack strong leadership.
Learn more, how this form of professional honesty can backfire when the incumbents, privileged by the existing system, strike back.
On many occasions in the recent past, working with distributed agile teams has amplified existing organizational, technical, and cultural challenges in many organizations. Starting changing, and I am not referring to the introduction of a new video conferencing tool, always requires the acceptance that there is a problem that needs attention. In that respect, the current issues that many distributed teams face may also act as accelerants to become more agile. The following article addresses some of the most current impediments to achieving agility by revisiting several agile laws that are particularly relevant to distributed agile teams.
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