Agile Horrors

PMI Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is a consultant and trainer who help organizations improve performance through shared leadership, agility and (un)common sense. He maintains the blog LeadingAnswers.com.

As Halloween approaches we look for some agile horrors to watch out for:

Frankenstein Process: This is the methodology designed by committee that tries to combine iterative, empowered development with linear scheduling and command-and-control task assignment. Perhaps created in an attempt to satisfy the desires of competing groups, this half-goose, half-salmon abomination neither flies nor swims.

Agile practices are in a balanced network. Ruthless testing balances the need for comprehensive documentation; colocation, demos and daily stand-ups reduce the need for detailed status reporting. Changes made to this web of practices can easily create risks, gaps and duplications if they are not carefully considered.

Think candy apples, not pumpkin pie: Hybrid methods work best when there is a core of agile for the team to own and execute, surrounded by a wrapper of more traditional process to buffer and integrate into a less agile-aware environment. Don’t try and glom disparate process pieces together; it becomes a monster nobody loves or defends.

Zombie Projects: Some projects should just die, but won’t seem to. Doomed from the outset with unrealistic deadlines, overly ambitious scope or ill-equipped skills and support, everybody knows it will not end well--but nobody seems willing or able to kill it.

These death marches to eventual failure or …

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- Voltaire

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