When agile goes bad
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When Agile goes bad. How to stay calm and move forward. Sebastien Lambla. Founder of . Helping people achieve greatness. seb@serialseb.com - @ serialseb – http://serialseb.blogspot.com. A company becomes agile as a whole. The organization. Watch out for. High turnover

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When Agile goes bad...

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When Agile goes bad...

How to stay calm and move forward

Sebastien Lambla

Founder of

Helping people achieve greatness

seb@serialseb.com - @serialseb – http://serialseb.blogspot.com

A company becomes agile as a whole

The organization

Watch out for...

  • High turnover

  • High documentation environment

Dealing with the sceptics

Managers & ctos

“Engineers are not agile! And they build planes! And they fly!”

Boeing and Airbus are Lean companies.

“We have a culture of working hard”

Measure and show what happens with long hours

“Agile proponents are socialists. We want superstars!”

Heroes != Talent

“In waterfall, I have a full one-year ahead plan. I need that for my budget”

The budgets have always been estimates. That’s not changing...

“Agile is just an excuse for cowboys development”

Business-focus and releases, and a structured approach to development

Choosing a project

“You can’t do agile for fixed price projects”

Usually followed by...

“Scope, resources and release dates are fixed!”

Are they?

Building your project team


The Developers

Don’t impose a methodology. Build a trust relationship.


Detect and address early

The business, the stakeholders, the sponsors, their proxies, etc.

The customer

The proxy: “I can’t make that call, need to discuss it”

Proxy without authority is an impediment

Manager managing something

The Scrum Master

“I’m your boss”

Don’t manage people, manage issues. Leadership over control.

“We need to take what will work for our organization and blend it with its current practices”

You should, but you can’t. Not at the beginning anyway.

Agile is like cooking

  • Learn the recipeThe Checklist step

  • Grab other people’s recipes

  • Blend “The final stage—if you ever get there—is a level of fluency and intuitiveness where you can't say what you're doing, but you kind of borrow and blend” - Cockburn


Iteration 0

The workshop

Time, estimates, cards, points, poker game etc.

The Planning

“just write it”

The Scrum Master writes and distribute tasks

Iterative waterfall != agile


The iteration

“We’re stopping the SCRUM temporarily because we know exactly what needs to be done”

Except when you don’t.

“We can’t do CI, it doesn’t work with our source-control repository”

Change the tools, not the practices

“It’s done, except for a bit of data integration”

Done != Done Done

The Daily standup

People sit down

People have conversations

“Can I talk now?”

Building from experience

The Retrospective

“It’s John’s fault.”

The team succeeds or fails as a unit.

“What do you mean we write less than perfect code?”

Charge interest to your technical debt!

The release party

“The stakeholders are not coming...”

Ask the hard questions

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