The Positive (and Negative) Side Effects of Going Agile

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Today, Dan and Sam are joined once again to discuss agility — more specifically, the side effects of being agile!

The side effects of agility are often not the reasons why you should start an agile transformation, but they are still very valuable and helpful to know about.

In this episode, Dan and Sam discuss the positive side effects that organizations might want out of agility, the indirect effects (both positive and negative) of putting certain agile practices in place (or not putting them in place), and how to address the challenges that come along with losing focus on the primary principles of agility.

Key Takeaways

Why should you start an agile transformation?

Look no further than the Agile Manifesto

Common side effects organizations want out of agility:

People will be happier

We’ll get more stuff more quickly/twice the work and half the time

Increasing customer involvement

Improving the prioritization of features

Increasing team buy-in and involvement

Adapting to change during development

Better understanding the project’s status

More efficient planning and estimating

Continuous risk management

Delivering the project needed at the end

Achieving the right level of project structure

Potential negative side effects and how to combat them:

The Agile principle “welcoming changing requirements” does not mean adding requirements

When a priority is changed that means something else isn’t important anymore

It is key to clarify the priorities and remind everyone of the consequences/cost of changing them

Look at the cost of waiting to start the new thing vs. abandoning the old thing

Building lots of stuff that you don’t ship and lengthy requirements lists that you may never be able to get to (therefore generating excess inventory and waste)

You should instead focus on delivering value in increments

Use the “MVP” (minimum viable product) strategy i.e. getting something potentially valuable to your customers quickly so that they can evaluate it and you can measure it

Launching a product vs. the value you want to bring

When you don’t embrace agile fully and attempt to scope out a large project by creating a static backlog and fix the team members, you will eat through the backlog (the best-case scenario is that you get a product and the worst-case scenario is that you don’t get a product and have a lot of work-in-progress)

Think about your outcome rather than the activity than you’re engaged in or some artificial target

When the goalposts are set and there aren’t true inspection and adaptation, it’s not an agile approach

If the primary benefits of agile are not met, the secondary benefits will not matter as much and the agile transformation itself will be brought into question and challenged

When there is a purpose to what they’re doing, employee satisfaction and fulfillment goes up

Mentioned in this Episode:

The Agile Manifesto

Agile2021 | Agile Alliance

Becoming Agile: … in an imperfect world, by Greg Smith and Ahmed Sidky

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment, by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein

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