Don’t hate the game, hate the player

(Before you correct me for misstating the iconic quote in this article’s title, read ahead)

Over the past week, I’ve seen a number of posts from different practitioners on the instance complaining about agile.

Here are a few of the examples I’ve read:

  • Agile events or meetings taking up most of the productive time each day
  • User stories not providing an understanding of a user’s needs and wants
  • Continuous delivery of changes resulting in significant unplanned outages
  • Sprint burndown charts showing zero completed work until the very end of a sprint

Now if someone’s experiences with adaptive delivery are limited to such examples it is no wonder that the reaction would be “Agile sucks!”

To which I respond #NotMyAgile.

Until someone invents a bracelet which delivers mild shocks to leaders and team members who ignore the basics of adaptive delivery, adoption challenges will persist.

And the more concurrent teams an organization has, the greater the likelihood of this unless each team has sufficient support and guidance to help them through these growing pains. An in the early days when there are very few people who know what to avoid, their capacity should be the constraint on how much work is done using agile approaches.

But barring that, team members can ask themselves the following question when they, the team as a whole or their leaders are deciding on what to do: “Does this result in greater value delivered to our customers, improvements to the quality of what we are doing or will it help improve our engagement or motivation?”.

If the answer is “no”, speak up.

(If you liked this article, why not read my book Easy in Theory, Difficult in Practice which contains 100 other lessons on project leadership? It’s available on and on as well as a number of other online book stores).


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