We are all creatures of habit. Taking the same road to work, drinking our morning coffee and mostly having a time proven routine for anything and everything we do. However as there are good habits, there are also bad ones that can put us at a disadvantage in the long run.
Agile or work environment is no different and you can fall into practices that seem fine, but actually are hurting you instead. What are they? Have you become a victim? Here are our top 8 bad Agile habits.
#1 No backlog refinement
Most teams groom and prioritize their backlogs in the beginning, however as the project goes along some tend to do that less and less. While it may be true that nothing changes, those cases are rare and not taking care of your backlog becomes a problem. Keep your list tight and priorities straight – only this way you will be able to get the best results.
#2 Not standing during the Daily Scrum
Daily Scrum or daily standup is a vital part of keeping the team on the same page and updated on the progress. However some teams tend to forego the standup part and stay in their cushy seats instead. While you may be tempted to rest in those early morning hours, sitting makes the meeting not only longer, but also less effective. So suck it up, get things done quicker and then get back to that comfy chair.
#3 Not updating the board daily
Another task that may seem tedious to you is updating the task board every time something changes. However, updating the board at least daily is crucial – the team can understand the progress and the project manager leaves you alone without asking for a progress reports every hour. Taking those 5 minutes to update is really not that excessive.
#4 Ignoring WIP limits
While teams set WIP limits, some team members find ways to ignore them and do what they want to instead. Doing that may seem fun at the time, but in the end helps no one. With piles of unfinished tasks and no clear identification of bottlenecks you are setting yourselves up for failure. Next time go ask for help instead of looking for an easier way.
#5 Not offering true autonomy
Agile promotes cross-functional and self-reliant teams, however some Scrum Masters and Product Owners still tend to run the show. It is important to realize that their role is more of facilitators unless they want to end up with a herd of sheep that will fall apart the first time they have to face any responsibility.
#6 No cross-functional teams
Another common bad habit comes from the teams not being truly cross-functional. You may be tempted to stay with your friends or colleagues that do the same job and thus make it easier to work together. But when the crisis hits having 5 designers on the team will not seem like such a bright idea. So when forming a team make sure the team can complete the project from start to finish.
# 7 Not focusing on the customer
No matter if it is an Agile or any other project customer should always be your main focus. For some, however, that is easy to forget. Instead they focus on tasks or completing a sprint, completely ignoring the review and not taking advantage of it. It is time to forget the KPIs and focus on who you are delivering to.
#8 Not embracing failure
Failure will happen. No matter how good, experienced or just lucky you are. Figure out the reason and then focus your energy on eliminating it, not passing fault. Hold constructive meetings with your team and agree how to change your behavior in the future. Learn from your mistakes.
Any other Agile habits you would like to shake? Share with us in the comments!