12 Agile Myths and Misconceptions corrected. Presented at SofTech, the first software engineering conference of the PSIA.
Text of Agile Myths and Misconceptions
Agile Myths and Misconceptions
Myth #1: Agile is a Methodology
Methodology - pretentious misused term for process - If situation X, do Y... - Do activity A, then B, then C... - Use template 1, diagram 2... - The output of M is the input of N... Methodologies: Scrum, XP, Kanban...
Agile is Principles & Values Agile Manifesto 12 Agile Principles 4 XP Values 7 Principles of Lean Software Development Agile reduces process, which must be replaced by values to work.
Agile is Principles & Values Customer Satisfaction, Customer Value Evidence-Based Decision-Making Technical Excellence Feedback, Visibility, Courage Eliminating Waste Human Interaction Etc...
Myth #2: Agile is Project Management
Agile Has Equal (or greater) Focus on Engineering Early Agile methodologies were heavy on engineering Test-Driven Development, Coding Practices, Design Patterns, etc. Scrum originally focused on just project management, but lately is reemphasizing engineering
There's a mess I've heard about with quite a few projects recently. It works out like this: They want to use an agile process, and pick Scrum They adopt the Scrum practices, and maybe even the principles After a while progress is slow because the code base is a mess - - Martin Fowler Agile Manifesto Signatory, ThoughtWorks Chief Scientist, Author
Team Capacity Team Capacity Requirements FeaturesDevelopment
Team Capacity Team Capacity Requirements FeaturesDevelopment Bugs Bug Fixing
Team Capacity Team Capacity Requirements FeaturesDevelopment Technical Debt Bugs Bug Fixing Technical Debt
Team Capacity Team Capacity Requirements FeaturesDevelopment Technical Debt Bugs Bug Fixing
Myth #3: Agile is Short Milestones
Waterfall with Many Short Milestones Iterations 1 4: Requirements Gathering Iterations 5 8: Design Iterations 9 16: Implementation Iterations 17 20: SIT/UAT Iterations 21 24: Production Support
Module Milestones (Multiple Short Waterfalls) Phase 1: Ordering Module Phase 2: Order Processing Module Phase 3: Billing Module Phase 4: User Management
Iterative Development It's not just about frequent deliveries
Software is Evolved
Software is Evolved Reach potentially-shippable state as quickly as possible. All succeeding deliveries should maintain to be potentially-shippable state.
Working software produced at each iteration Progress measured by working features No such thing as X% complete, only done and not done at the end of a sprint Done means tested, ready to deploy
Myth #4: Agile Cannot Work with Fixed Budgets
Fixed-Budget, Fixed-Scope Typical Scenario: 1. Project budget and detailed requirements are set in beginning. 2. Requirements are achieved, with plenty of overtime, and usually delays. 3. System is unusable because of mismatch to business needs and bugs. 4. Additional project phases needed to accommodate actual business needs and fix bugs. 5. Repeat X times. So what happened to the fixed budget?
In Agile... Budgets are fixed. Based on team composition and duration. Business objectives are defined. First to market? Win customers from competition? Reduce cost? Integrity of financial transactions? Reduce human error? Reduce process time? Scope is variable. Deliver something early that meets business needs. Early ROI Base succeeding iterations on feedback. Customer uptake, stakeholder feedback, etc. When project ends, organization is left with a valuable, useful product, within a fixed budget.
Myth #5: Agile is Unpredictable
Agile is Evidence-Based Decision-Making Requirements of future iterations based on user feedback from previous iterations. Schedules are based on experience from previous iterations. Architecture based on Spikes, not literature.
Agile Design is Evidence-Based Architectures are based on Spikes Subjected to tests (ex. performance) Enough detail for team to get started. Design expected to evolve, collaboratively. Waterfall design is... yes, creative writing. Designs are not validated by code. Details not based on feedback.
Myth #7: Agile Means No Documentation
Agile Means Documentation that is Actually Read User Stories are in a form that is meaningful to all parties, expresses business objectives. Acceptance Tests removes ambiguity from requirements. Unit Tests describe the behavior of methods.
Traditional Requirements... Use Cases, etc, are devoid of business context. Developers & stakeholders do not have basis to discuss better solutions that still meet business objectives. No automated way to validate if requirements and code are aligned.
Myth #8: Agile Will Prevent Problems
Agile will make problems visible, early and often. so that they are easier to fix. Expect to initially experience more problems, not less. Waterfall reveals problems only later, when they are hard to fix.
Myth #9: Agile Means No Managers
Self-Organizing Teams Theres a reason we use the term 'self-organizing' rather than 'self-organized' or 'self-managed.' Thats because its a process and a characteristic, not something that is done once and for all. - Esther Derby
Self-Organizing Team: Mature, responsible, self-directed courageous people. Aligned with company objectives Solicits and provides feedback Productivity visible to the organization Works within financial and regulatory boundaries. To get there: Different people/teams need different management approaches. Maturity, culture, motivation, discipline, awareness, etc.
Myth #10: Agile Means Weak Control
Traditional Control Status Reports We are 90% done. Based on what?
Agile Control Feedback Working Features Customer Satisfaction! Test Coverage Performance Tests Velocity / Burndown Charts Fine-grained commits, commit logs Continuous Integration Static Analysis Cyclomatic Complexity Coding Standards Common Bugs Technical Debt Web Analytics
Myth #11: Agile is Easy
Most companies think it will only take months to adopt Agile... it usually takes years because it is mainly a cultural shift. Painful mistakes will be made along the way. Organizational changes will need to be made, throughout the company. Performance Management process, Marketing involvement, Budgeting Cycles, etc.
Myth #12: You're Agile or You're Not Agile
Agile is a Continuum No such thing as a perfectly Agile team. Constraints other departments, maturity of team members, clients, schedules, regulation, etc. Continuous improvement always something that can be done better Be iterative in your Agile adoption. Take small steps that will achieve quick wins. What one value or practice can you adopt this week/month that will show visible gains?
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