Overcoming Challenges In Agile Transformation

Overcoming Challenges In Agile Transformation

1.  Abstract or Executive Summary

It should be written when the white paper is completed, including the most attention getting insights, findings and recommendations (Should be effectively 150-250 words)

2.  Outline

A mindset is a set of assumptions, methods, or notations held by groups of people when established creates a powerful incentive within these people to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors.

Simply put, it is a way of thinking or have in common to the point that it becomes a way of life. While moving from Waterfall to Agile the below mentioned characteristics needs change –

  • From Individual to team goals.

Agile is about the success of the team, not individual success or heroic behavior. It is more important for the team to succeed than for the individual to have completed her tasks. To accomplish this we do User story swapping, pairing, assign more resources to priority tasks to ensure and offer to help to complete the higher priority stories.

Being prepared to move outside of your comfort zone in order to help on a particular project for the overall good of the team is an agile necessity. Likewise, it is important for team members to be willing to train others in areas where they may not be confident. If there is a culture of finger-pointing, people are less likely to volunteer to work on an important task if they are not an expert in that area.

Taking the time to coach others or walk through the user story design with those who are less familiar with the coding in that function is a sign of a good team member. This shares knowledge and lessens key person dependencies, plus the whole team having a common understanding of what the story involves leads to more accurate estimates and planning for sustainable commitment.

  • Individual capabilities to knowledge sharing

Agile is about learning and adapting. Your goal should be to gain as much information possible in order to deliver a quality product—you should not make assumptions that what you are doing is best for the client. With the fast pace of business requirements and new technologies seemingly appearing every day, industry professionals need to keep abreast of changes. Goal of team success

  • Continuous Improvement

Agile mindset is that it should include the quest to learn (even when you fail) and leveraging what you learn to continuously improve. The agile mindset is an attitude that equates failure and problems with opportunities for learning and invaluable feedback. In other words, it is a belief that we can all grow stronger over time if you put in effort to increase your knowledge and support the team, and the organizational culture gives you the space to do it. Retrospective meetings helps in identifying the gaps if any and having best practices or measures to bridge them.

3.  Introduction

IT development model has taken a new approach after the emergence of Agile in recent decades. Software companies are widely using agile methods in recent years. Many companies we are seeing is heading towards different methods of agile. Scrum is the most popular Agile method that focuses on project management by defining the required roles, responsibilities, and activities. In this study, we wanted to investigate the challenges related to the Scrum adoption in the software industry specifically.

As we understand, the traditional way involved lot of effort in planning and was elaborate. This model was inflexible and against the requirement for present times where technology is constantly changing / evolving. Agile model offered more flexibility for requirement has and change management. Even though agile offers flexibility and simplicity it is more of a process of continuous adaptation and improving as requirements itself is not completely predictable.

Requirements are also evolving during the process from meetings with client and reviews. Therefore, facing challenges is part of this process and many reports have started to address this. Most of these reports highlight the details of the challenges which most of them roots back to the team environment as Scrum relies a lot on the involved people.

4.  Problem Statement


Challenges faced while shifting from Waterfall to Agile

  • Misunderstanding of Agile – being a manger instead of a facilitator, self-interest over team interests etc.

  • Product owners who lack a customer mindset build what they want and not necessarily what the customer wants, or blindly deliver what is asked for without understanding why it is needed, or, worst of all, do not regularly review the evolving product, missing opportunities to react to the customer’s emerging needs and impressions. The result is a product that misses the mark.

  • Communication Challenges / Miscommunication – People communications and collaborations are strongly affects the quality of Scrum. Human resources are the core of Scrum that lack a production mindset – include team level failure

  • Responsibility – For those who rely on lead assignments this may be a challenge for someone who has been depending on assignments be provided to them

  • Breaking the waterfall mentality that everything needs to be sequentially completed.

  • Commitment for short durations – Fast paced environment leads to inaccurate estimates and improper requirement analysis

  • Prioritization of tasks, based on the dependency

  • Resource performing multiple roles as required for Sprint success.

  • Long and frequent meetings due to less documentation. The engineers who worked in Waterfall model earlier take it as a wastage of time and they start skipping the meetings

  • For offshore teams, communication and co-ordination can be a big challenge.

  • The very high degree of customer involvement, while great for the project, may present problems for some customers who simply may not have the time or interest for this type of participation.

  • Resistance to change

5.  How the product or service solves the problem

Due to the people-centric nature of Scrum, it seems that providing facilities to maximizing people interaction and communication results in overcoming the potential human conflicts. It lets the involved people to freely negotiate to make an agreement when they have different ideas. In sum up, it seems that providing positive team climate leads to increasing probability of success in applying Scrum in real environments. Where people are working together in a collaborative manner, support each other in performing their responsibilities, steadily negotiate to handle conflicts, and practically respect the agile principles, Scrum works well.

Here are some suggestions

  • Scrum master support – by being actually the FACILITATORS OF SCRUM ADOPTION, Ability to effectively manage changes

  • Team member motivation

  • Having qualified experts in team, consult mentor or coach

  • Adopting a learning mindset

  • TEAM – committing to reasonable deadlines and delivering. Scrum teams are self-organizing teams and do not need to be managed or controlled by managers. Development team members are cross-functional experts who have enough experience in all technical roles. In addition, they need enough social skills to facilitate their communications and collaborations with other team members.

  • Training on Agile process and its tool before implementing or working on it

  • Keep the documentation in shared repository and have frequent sessions.

  • Encourage team to participate in all the meetings/demos

  • Attend only required meetings and prioritization and categorization of task should be done carefully

  • Retrospection after each release should be done regularly to identify the challenges of each sprint and make effort to fix the same

Practical learnings

  • Distributed teams – Have to schedule calls at overlap hours with all participating teams and ensuring daily connects on call with Onshore Tech leads.

  • Detailed documentation as reference for new team members and clarifications.

  • User stories for Documentation and Spike for all sprints – To ensure tasks are logged and tracked.


6.  Conclusion

Scrum adoption is a serious project in interested software teams and organizations. Scrum advantages and benefits on the one hand, tempt companies to use it in their projects, and on the other hand, they encounter with various challenges. This study showed that software teams that encounter with several challenges in adapting to Scrum which almost all have the root in team climate. Challenges in new roles and responsibilities, following Scrum ceremonies, and providing smooth the people communication and collaborations were the main categories of the challenges that threat the teams. 

However, positive team climate facilitates Scrum adoption. Providing people buy-in, team members’ motivation, hiring qualified experts, and continuous effective communication and negotiations can accelerate the process of Scrum adoption. The more complex a project, the longer it takes and the more issues arise. When dealing with complex requirements, it is important for the development team along with the Scrum Master to plan and design the solution as best as possible. That means breaking up complex requirement into smaller stories and iterating over time.

Resource: https://educushy.com/2019/03/04/overcoming-challenges-in-agile-transformation/


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