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Common issues in moving to agile- Part 2 of 2

Now that we’ve covered the tactical issues that teams face when moving to an agile methodology, I’d like to take some time to look at the over-arching thought process and organizational issues that we’ve seen customers face.

  • Not adapting to agile speed or thought process:
    • Some teams find it hard to let go of detailed requirements documentation up front which slows the development process.
    • You need to align entire team to the pace of agile on just enough requirements details as is needed at a given point in time.
    • Part of this will be changing people’s mindset to support the concept of continuously working requirements throughout the development cycle and championing the “People over Process” agile principle.
  • Middle management not bought in:
    • Mid-level managers still want to have sign-off/approval on requirements, which invalidates agile concepts of prioritization and backlog management.
    • There is not easy way around this issue, but you can use Agile Requirements Documents (ARD) as an intermediary step to get middle management bought in, and satisfy their need for approval. Additionally, the ARD gets middle management out of the Business Requirements Document (BRD) and the idea that everything in there is a binding contract to be built.
  • Executives expect guaranteed roadmap:
    • They want to know what they are going to get within defined timeline and budget constraints.
    • Again with this one, there is no easy answer, but you can start to get executive buy-in by aligning on the business objectives, and then empowering the teams to make lower level decisions, rather than relying on detailed roadmaps.
  • Funding changes:
    • Transitioning to agile when all funding comes from yearly roadmap planning and enhancements or change requests have to go through complete approval before being added to the backlog can really take a toll on the agile teams.
    • Ideally, each project/system would have a continuous backlog and enhancements or changes would go into that backlog to be worked on as the team has funding. This could be a yearly bucket to work on the most important features or many other mechanisms.
    • Each organizations will need to understand how, if at all, funding agile projects change the overall funding process.

What issues has your company faced when going agile and how did you overcome them?

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