As the New Year is fast approaching and we still have a little time before the festive mood takes over, this is a great time to stop to think and reflect. What have we done right and what aspects of our projects could be improved? While the answers to these questions will differ greatly in all situations, I have compiled some of the most common Agile malpractices into a resolution list for you to look over.
Skim through it to find what your team lacks and I am sure next year your team will perform even better!
1 – Get to Know Your Method
Many teams set themselves up for failure right from the very start when trying to be Agile. Instead of researching how their chosen method works and truly understanding it, they rush into application. So avoid this first pitfall and do your research.
2 – Invest Time Into Preparations
Another common mistake many of you out there make is not fully preparing for the transition. When one person knows the method and the whole team is not on board, there is no chance for success. So once you’ve mastered the topic, familiarize your team and make sure to have all the necessary tools for execution.
3 – Choose Tools That You Need
Talking about the tools, it is also very important to choose ones you actually need and will use. Agile applications differ greatly from team to team and if John’s team is using tool X, it does not mean your team will enjoy it too. Compile a list of your requirements and choose an Agile tool that is flexible enough to fit them all.
4 – Start Small
Curious about trying Agile at your company? My tip would be to start small. Do not rush into transforming the whole organization. Instead, implement Agile in one or several teams (preferably ones that are excited about Agile) and see how it works. You will save a whole lot of time if it turns out the method is simply not to your liking.
5 – Focus on Quality
All Agile methods are based on a dynamic work rhythm and sometimes moving tasks to the ‘Done’ column can be just too much fun. Don’t get me wrong, your team should be shaking and moving at a good pace. Just make sure they are not only focused on completing the tasks, but also on making sure they are done right.
6 – Troubleshoot as a Team
Ran into a problem? Well, it is easy to fall into the good old project manager knows best situation. Make sure you don’t. Agile is all about collaboration and your team should be the ones to solve problems, with you only offering assistance. You will be surprised how good they are at it and how appreciated they will feel for you trusting them.
7 – Celebrate Little Wins
I know you are focused on the end result here. But it is important to stop and celebrate your accomplishments along the way as well. Maybe you have just eliminated a frustrating bottleneck or managed to switch directions at the right time to fulfill your customer requirements. No matter what it is for you, find these little moments and let your team know they are great. This will boost morale like nothing else!
8 – Listen to Your Team and Customers
While this should be the rule in all Agile applications, we still sometimes manage to forget it. Make sure you listen to what your customers are saying every single time you meet. And then talk to your team to figure out the best way of executing their wishes. Agile is not about one person, but about a group of them trying to achieve one result.
9 – Reflect on The Progress
Most Agile applications ask you to hold retrospective meetings after each iteration. However, as the project goes on, less and less of these are actually done. Don’t underestimate the power and importance of this meeting. As it is here that you will be able to make process changes at the right time, before it is too late.
10 – Don’t Be Afraid of Modifications
Lastly, Agile is not just about some applications, like Scrum or Kanban. It is a set of principles and values created to make your projects more flexible. So if you feel like certain things just do not fit your process, do not be afraid to change them. Modify and create an application that works for you.
Hope this helps with improving your Agile experience! Which resolutions will you choose?