Taking on a new project management approach requires determination and effort. Switching from traditional to Agile project management practices is no different. In order to succeed you have to not only know how your daily operations are going to change, but also have a clear focus and a will to go through them.
In order to help you out on the journey, here are 7 common Agile rookie mistakes you should avoid.
1 – Underestimating The Change
When considering an Agile transformation, one of the first things you have to realize is that this is no small event. Especially when switching over from traditional project management practices, this will take restructure in both your office and your mindset.
So before you begin, you should realize just how much effort it will take. This way you will be ready and able to go through it and won’t give up halfway.
2 – Sticking With The First Method
Once you’ve decided to go Agile, you will have to pick one of the applications to use. Whether it is Scrum, Kanban or others you pick ass your first Agile experience, it is important to know you can change them anytime.
It is very unlikely you will know which of the Agile applications will work for you before you try them out. So after you had a couple of iterations and you start understanding how this process works, do not be afraid to see what else is out there. Maybe you will find another application is better for you or you may even modify the current method to better suit your needs.
Agile is all about adaptability and the application you choose for your daily operations should be too.
3 – Choosing a Tool Before the Method
Another thing to avoid and this is especially common with first time practitioners is choosing an Agile tool before setting up your processes.
With a wide array of Agile project management tools on the market it is tempting to go ahead and choose one right from the beginning. But my advice is not to hurry. First you should choose and set your method, run an iteration or two.
This way you will have a clear understanding what you need from an Agile tool and will be able to choose one that fits your needs exactly. Instead of going from tool to tool and ultimately deciding Agile does not work for you just because you can’t find an acceptable solution to run it.
4 – Not Realizing the Difference Between Project Manager and Scrum Master
A very common mistake among former traditional project management practitioners is assuming project manager and Scrum master are the same thing. Instead of reassigning roles, the old project managers are just told they will be Scrum masters from now on.
In reality the difference between these roles is quite large and should not be overlooked. Otherwise you will be stuck with a Scrum team that does not have the autonomy and support it needs to function properly.
You can find more on the differences here.
5 – Not Downsizing Your Team
Talking about the team, another thing Agile rookies tend to underestimate is the size of it. Agile applications function best with smaller teams (usually up to 10 people).
While this may seem as an insignificant detail, the reality is that larger teams simply cannot work together as organically as the smaller ones. Therefore you should really think whether keeping the old team structure is worth the loss of productivity you may have to face.
6 – Not Holding the Meetings
Most of Agile applications come with a specific set of meetings to be held on a regular basis. And wile some may seem excessive to you at first, it is really important to keep having them. As only after finishing several iterations or even a whole project you will truly understand their value.
Another thing to note here is that you should not only hold the meetings, but make sure the team is fully involved. Trust me, putting in the effort will create great habits and yield the results you expect from Agile.
7 – Not Getting Excited
Lastly, Agile transformation will take a lot of effort from you and your team. And while you are driving the change and are excited for it, the teams’ perspective could be different.
So before you set out to do anything, sell the idea and benefits of Agile to those that will have to apply it. Make sure they are on board and you will be halfway to success already!