Agile Challenges and Some Solutions

This article is part of my online newsletter called the Scrum Addendum. If you enjoyed this article you should signup for the complete series.


mock image These past weeks I have shared with you some ideas on how you can make your Agile processes work more smoothly. I like sharing these thoughts because they are quick ideas you can put into play to see immediate results. However, the type of challenges I see more frequently are organizational issues, and these are often more difficult to solve.

Not only are the primary challenges with Agile adoption organizational in nature, but they also occur following a pattern. When initially introducing Agile practices to a team, the difficulties experienced by the team are all centered on the immediate adoption of the practices, and the consequences of that adoption.

After some experimentation with Agile methods, the focus becomes centered on larger problems that confront an entire team. Once experienced with Agile practices, the problems are larger still and will confront many teams. The scope and nature of the problems faced by an Agile team grow over time as knowledge of Agile practices spread throughout the organization in ever increasing circles of influence.

I recently wrote a white paper wrote a white paper on the organizational challenges that I have seen time and time again. If you are struggling with any of the challenges below, download the white paper to get some ideas.

  • Team members are overly-specialized, which requires work to be handed off several times.
  • Lack of ownership by the team.
  • Some team members refuse to interact with the team.
  • It can be difficult to convince management about the need for a new development approach.
  • Senior management is giving mixed signals regarding their support for Agile.
  • No single product owner can be identified
  • Management wants to combine elements of RUP and Agile.
  • The Scrum Master refuses to protect the team.
  • You do not have a reliable build system and processes.
  • QA issues are not addressed.
  • External parties have mandated ineffective tools.
  • Friction can exist between teams.
  • The way company rewards employees is in conflict with the “values” of Agile development.

You can download the paper 13 Organizational Challenges of Agile. I’d love to hear from you: are you experiencing these challenges or other ones? Do you have any solutions you’d like to recommend?

Looking forward

In the next few week I’ll be discussing some advanced topics in Agile software development including Continuous Deployment, the Principle of Postponement and Agile Contracts.

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