5 Ways Agile Boosted Our IT Team's Happiness - InformationWeek

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DevOps // Project Management
09:06 AM
Chris Savoie
Chris Savoie

5 Ways Agile Boosted Our IT Team's Happiness

Chris Savoie, director of product strategy at Workfront, has spent the past 12 years leading Agile IT teams. While the productivity improvements of Agile methodology are well documented, we rarely hear about how Agile affects IT morale. Here, Chris shares five things he learned along the way, and how his IT team benefited in the process.

(Image: Sergey Khakimullin/iStockphoto)

(Image: Sergey Khakimullin/iStockphoto)

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User Rank: Ninja
11/2/2016 | 7:23:00 AM
Maybe we are doing Agile wrong
My experience with Agile is that management only sees one aspect: deliver faster. The idea, that no matter which approach is used, the same amount of dev work still needs to happen, does not seem to sink in. Instead, expectations and dealines are unreasonable and entirely detached from reality, because management thinks they can just put stuff on a backlog and it will happen instantly because they determined that we are Agile now.

We were more waterfallish before with proper analysis and design upfront after which dev and QA had a clear picture and could make more reliable commitments. Now with the unfounded idea that documentation is a bad word, we get three and a half bullet points with vage functional descriptions for an epic (such as "user friendly messaging"). When requestion business analysis to be done the request is rejected because the BAs are busy assisting customers to get the half-baked apps to work at least a wee bit so that the customer is not asking for money back.

Agile and its various implementations is great in theory, but fails miserably in practice. Especially Scrum where so many meetings and so much process is introduced that it even requires a Scrum master to manage it all. Worst of scrum is the arbitrary time boxing. That works OK if everything in an app is a CRUD page, but most of the time it is not or it is custom development that has no relation to other work already done so that estimating and determining velocity is impossible.

For a while we moved to a Kanban approach without any short sprints, but only release date as a target. Sadly, that flopped as well once management notices that we now get stuff done and started to pile up an insane amount of work and setting deadlines that are months before release date. The result is kludged together stuff, anything quick'n'dirty has to do. Bug fixing is no longer done as that would take away time from stuffing in more badly designed features. Reason given: we hit it early next iteration. Of course, that never happens.

From my experience, Agile in reality is the death of quality - exactly the opposite of what Agile tries to accomplish.
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