Challenges during Agile Transformation : Less discussed

Stumbling on the obstacles along the path

  1. IT is agile but all other systems around IT are still in legacy or waterfall
  2. Budget allocation is gate based. Meaning at end of requirements-signoff, design sign-off, code complete, etc. This behavior forces waterfall phases sprint wise execution. Struggling or averse to allocate the budget incrementally. Agile mask for the waterfall delivery.
  3. Setting target based goals but not outcome based goals. What happens is employees find a way to tweak the parameters in the target – manipulate parameters for proving the goals are achieved. Just a number game but in reality it could be even, nothing.
  4. Standardize the process or tools. No options are open for the project to optimize the workflow. Too much of overheads in the name of standardization.
  5. Talk agile, do waterfall. Contract for bespoke type of development with billing model, governance model , etc for the waterfall type of project.
  6. Estimation is not estimation unless certain complex techniques, models, benchmarks. etc , etc are used to arrive at the estimation. Upfront estimation are not accurate but still believes it is best and measure & report estimation related metrics to stakeholders. Agile believes, driver to estimate how much time it takes to reach the destination and refine it daily and also iteratively. Each story or task is estimated by its owner. He is open to use any technique he thinks is best fit and does not use the models. All he needs is to minimize the variation each time he re-estimates the work. But estimation is not estimation unless it is made complex.
  7. No culture of failures. If your output is not first time right, get out of the project. Defects, issues or even clarifications are no acceptable once coding has started. Even defect fixes should be first time fix rate 100%. (not referring to first time fix rate call based valid metric measured for a different purpose).
  8. No culture of experimentation. Force fit one agile for everyone. Be it SAP, Mainframe, ERP, etc No system or knowledge in place to support or experiment.
  9. Follow SCRUM ceremonies and call it AGILE.
  10. No product owner from Customer. Business Analyst is titled as proxy product owner. No true collaboration. Lacks owning the backlog and working with team to get this done. Lack of product backlog writing expertise. It is set of regular user requirements and system requirements. No personas or the absence of product road map.
  11. Absence of cross functional teams. Everyone on board to 100% assigned . Cross functional teams are nor encouraged and teams supposed to have all the skill they need even if it is for a short term. Another extreme cannot hire from another project even if the employee is idle because 100% assigned and cannot be shared
  12. Measuring utilization. Being busy is more important measure then the outcome measure. Metrics are measured on how busy you are with the computer and how much lines of code you write.
  13. Microsoft project plan is required for planning, task breakdown structure and reporting.
  14. If project is in loss, do in agile, revenue will go up from day 1 – Mindset associated Agile that it is silver bullet for all problems.
  15. Infra requirements ? First develop code then ask for infra. Don’t change the infra requirements later.
  16. Lack of work environment that supports the format of the work , agile. Everyone wants a privacy in cube or the cabin to be in.
  17. No Investments for visualboards and to create the empty space around the place where agile team is seated, to putup the varuous dashboards for the PO, backlog, scrum, release , wastage, etc.
  18. Waste of time in updating same information in the multiple applications like, JIRA, MPP, manual dashbaord with sticky notes, and in some case even the customer applications. Same information is presented in different formats as per stakeholder needs and finally effort spent to sync up the reports from all these dashboards
  19. Interview? People not having ground experience of what agility means or having bookish knowledge and certifications, will interview and shortlist for hiring agile team members.
  20. Agile transition ? Follow orthodox regular approach of transition planning / roadmap to transition from non-agile to agile. As stated in point one, this plan caters to only projects BUT call it is organization transition plan / strategy.
  21. Last but important, HIPPO effect. Highest paid person opinion dominates in almost all situations and also in the meetings.

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