Am I Dooming My Career by not REALLY Using Agile? — Anthony Software Group Scrum master questions

There is not one particular thing, short of committing a felony, that will doom your career.

The one-two punch of minimal team preparation and insufficient organizational strategy are the biggest contributors to frustration, confusion, and organizational failures when it comes to Agile.

Tony Amos

Dooming your career? I don’t know that there is one particular thing, short of committing a felony, that will doom your career. To address your real question, most American companies with more than 100 or so employees claim to follow Agile methodologies. The overwhelming majority of those companies, while they may have the best intentions, don’t come close. That creates so much frustration among Agile practitioners.

Remember that an organization can build its way up to organizational Agility, but that requires a strategy. Leaders must recognize where the organization falls short of being Agile and address those shortcomings as part of that strategy. In a sign of optimism, more companies are starting to do that.

As for your career, there is a definite secret to success when your employer falsely claims to follow Agile: Lead by example! As a PM, you can incorporate Agile practices into your daily job to become more productive and demonstrate to others in the organization exactly why Agile works.

First, make sure you fully understand the methodology you want to follow. That translates to reading and following the thought-leaders in the field. Agile started over 20 years ago but is built on a 90-year old foundation. This short, but interesting article sums up Agile’s history pretty well: https://hbr.org/2016/04/the-secret-history-of-agile-innovation

My point is: any Agile team member who believes that a 1–3 day class sufficiently prepares them to perform well is kidding themselves. The one-two punch of minimal team preparation and insufficient organizational strategy are the biggest contributors to frustration, confusion, and organizational failures when it comes to Agile. So how do you deal with that?

Commit to following Agile principles because you understand them and want to reap their benefits. Then follow practices that make your professional life easier. Use the authority that you do have to do some things differently than other teams. agile methodologies and frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, XP, Lean Development, and others provide a wealth of information in this regard. Since you’re not under any pressure to do anything in particular, you can decide what works in your environment, experiment, adjust, and learn. People will notice because you will get different (hopefully better) results than the others.

You will benefit from a demonstrated ability to be proactive when you take ownership of your team’s outcomes. You will have influenced your own outcomes in a way that also helps those around you, and helps the company. You will also be in a better position because you will have found ways to use Agile in an organization that really doesn’t. And that will help you to stand out when the time comes for performance reviews or to look for another job.

Read more about managing Agile Teams here.

Originally published at https://anthony-software-group.com on March 21, 2022.

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Agile coach to high performing software engineering teams. https://anthony-software-group.com

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