When Do Agile Iterations Make Sense?

One thing I’ve found challenging is giving my team a better understanding of agile. I often hear that teams will move work to an upcoming sprint if it’s not completed. While this may be required, it’s a mindset that I struggle with. Let me make it abundantly clear: There is planning that goes into what projects will entail and what their timelines will be. Having said that, agile is a medium to get there and achieve goals.

Let’s give it some thought…what is the purpose of timeboxing deliverables? To let team members focus on work that is necessary and avoid all the extra noise. Remember that context switching is expensive, even for a highly productive team. Think of a timebox as something like a bubble. It protects you from unnecessary outside factors, lets you deliver and forces you to come up with processes that really work for the team. The duration of the sprint should allow the team to deliver something useful. Depending on the type of work, it could range from one to four weeks.

A one-week sprint is effective when there is true continuous development and a continuous integration process in place. Generally, a two-week sprint is common in the software application industry. This allows for validations and checks to be tied to the sprint (and to any appropriate company rules). If the iterations aren’t too long, they will be …

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"The rule is perfect: In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane."

- Mark Twain