Commitment Issues

Bart has been in ecommerce for over 20 years, and can't imagine a better job to have. He is interested in all things agile, or anything new to learn.

Agile processes, particularly Scrum, involve teams and individuals making commitments, both individually and collectively. The product team agrees to have fully-groomed work ready at the start of the sprint (or some number of sprints in advance); the development team builds a plan to deliver an amount of user stories in a certain time frame; and customers promise to use new features and products, and to provide feedback. This is how the Do-Inspect-Adapt cycle operates, and it requires full participation of all stakeholders to make it work. By asking that each group (product team, development team, customer) sign up for doing the work that is required, the wheel can continue to spin. The problem is that these commitments are difficult to make, and sometimes impossible to keep.

Most agile practitioners admit to an important truth: we often don’t know what we don’t know. The agile solution is to try things, rapidly, so that we can continually collect more data and more information that will help us understand the right direction in which to head. Rather than wait six weeks or months to get this information, we seek it out as often as possible, even to the point of releasing incomplete or not fully ready products into the market, so that we can correct our course if we need to sooner rather than later. 

While reducing the cycle time is a step in the right …

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