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Agile Dev: Don't Take The Easy Way Out

It is easy to lose track of Scrum principles and best practices. Inevitably, problems will then arise that will be perceived incorrectly as failures of Agile or Scrum itself. Do these Scrum anti-patterns affect your development process?

There's a saying in the Agile community -- Agile is simple, but it's not easy. All too often Scrum teams cut corners or abuse the Scrum framework -- they do the easy parts of Agile without doing the hard parts. These teams may see initial short term gains, but sooner or later, meet challenges, frustration, and in many instances, failure.

For example, one of the principles behind the Agile Manifesto is "Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project." This is usually a big cultural change and can be uncomfortable for developers and business people who often don't speak the same language. Daily collaboration between developers and business people creates the feedback loop and ability for course correction that ensures what's delivered at the end of the sprint is just what stakeholders want. This collaboration is critical to the Scrum process, and is sometimes one of the hardest practices to begin and maintain.

How often do you leave software documentation undone because it is seen as a low priority compared to moving on to the next coding assignment? Similarly, some Scrum teams forgo Sprint Retrospectives due to lack of time or perceived lack of value. Inspection and adaption are cornerstone principles to building high-performing Scrum teams. You can only achieve continual improvement when you pause to reflect on what's working well, what's not working well, and make a conscious decision to adjust your practices. Small tweaks can mean the difference between project success and failure. Done right, the Retrospective can be an interesting and even fun meeting that yields valuable results.

Read the rest of this article on Dr. Dobb's.