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?

3 thoughts on “Is Agile making teams ‘Fragile’?

  1. People are not ready to answer such questions because
    I strongly believe at most places agile is used just to pressurize the team. I was said by a person when i asked why agile,it is because they would have taken a month to complete in waterfall but we took only two weeks here,I was pissed off. I can’t understand will agile make you to write N line of code in T/2 times of waterfall. is this the way to encourage people? It is all about mindset,but many are not ready to change,that is the big problem
    I know a friend of mine,who rejected two offers after knowing that he will be into SCRUM, as SCRUM related questions came during the interview.
    I love agile manifesto I love to work in such a real agile project.I tried to introduce pair testing,i was not allowed because if two people work together is loose of productivity 😦
    We need to fight harder and hope things will change soon
    –Dhanasekar S


  2. These are some very solid arguments you posted. However, you may like to consider that agile is the way of completing interim steps, rather than the final shape of artifact created.

    E.g., collaborating individuals can produce a good quality scope document faster than teams exchanging draft versions in off line mode.

    Or responding to change easily, becomes possible by shortening the distance between milestones. Make it possible to pick a new route daily. If the team has managed configuration well, recording the changed scope at short intervals is actually easier than maintaining long base lines.

    Just another pov. Cheers !!


    1. Amit, I agree on the fact that Agile can help in bridging the gaps in the teams and achieving the milestones if implemented properly. The issues start coming in when companies take it as a productivity measurement tool and to build unnecessary pressures on the individuals.
      That is why I raised the question at the end of my post “Is it time to rethink on Agile implementation strategy?”


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