Is Agile making teams ‘Fragile’?

Before you go through this post of mine, let me clear out that I am not against Agile. I am actually not against any methodology used during SDLC unless and until it is being misused. As per my previous post and the comments that I recieved, I will be touch-basing on the fact that the companies are not implementing Agile in the manner it was designed and how it is making teams ‘Fragile’.

We are seeing the following messages appearing in various magazines/posts – “Agile makes teams 50% more productive” or “Agile teams are 37 percent faster to market” etc. Anyone that we talk to or meet in the business boasts of using Agile methodologies and increasing team efficiency. But have we thought on the aspect of how are we measuring this? Even if we are able to measure it somehow then at what cost are we getting this?

Let’s revisit Agile Manisfesto once more. It says

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Now let me raise few questions

  • How many of us believe individuals when the things go wrong without document proofs?
  • How many of us do not want a comprehensive project report document?
  • How many times the individual gave an incorrect estimate and had to work overtime to meet the deadline?
  • How much time are we giving individuals to research and estimate?
  • Can a software survive a long term cycle if there is no comprehensive document created for that?
  • How many times have your clients pressurized you to get make a functionality into a release due to which team needed to work overtime?
  • How many times the testing team did not get a build till last minute as Agile is used?

If we go in detail to each of these questions, I am sure you will start getting insight into why the teams often lose sight when such kind of issues are again and again faced in long term projects said to be using Agile methodology. To safeguard oneself, apart from the pressure of deliveries the individuals need to do more documentation so that they can present that at the time of need. What I have found is that in long term, people are not able to meet such a demanding nature of agile projects and lose faith in Agile methodology and often switch projects/organizations. Which is a serious concern for the organizations and community as a whole who want to use Agile to increase productivity..

Is it time to rethink on Agile implementation strategy?

Use Agile to increase Productivity. Really!

This post of  mine is inspired from sdhanasekar’s blog entry How to measure productivity. He discussed a typical scenario about how a team member did an estimation and failed to meet that.

The scenario that he discussed is really a common thing that is happening in current project teams. As more and more organizations are pretending to be Agile, they are increasing the indirect or direct pressure on the individuals to commit on something that they might not be confident on completing. And once the commitment is made, the whole pressure is to deliver that irrespective of the fact that it can be completed as per estimation or not.

If we revisit Agile Manifesto, it says

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

People are implementing Agile, based on their understanding and the main intention behind it is to meet quicker goto market plans. So does it mean that the team that is working in Agile mode should be more productive? Is it just to keep them under pressure always so that they forget everything else; even no time to collaborate with team members!

But as the teams are being made to achieve unrealistic targets that they set for themselves without doing proper analysis is an area of concern that should be addressed sooner than later in the software industry. Is it really to make teams more productive?