7 Agile habits to avoid

Agile Developemnt

Agile Development or Lack of Planning?

The following might help explain some of the issues around project delivery in your organisation.

These habits will develop over time, against a background of rapid organisational change. Therefore, entirely understandable.

You will not notice it happening, but once embedded these habits are difficult to break.

1. Your managers have a tendency to reward “Heroic Rescues” above “Flawless Planning”. How many times have staff been congratulated for helping to avert a disaster, whilst routine project delivery is ignored?

2. Agile project delivery is used as a reason for “no planning needed”. Are project business cases a rarity and budgets constantly reassessed?

3. Micromanagement is the most common style. Is there now a lack of creativity from some staff?

4. Many simultaneous projects with interdependencies has led to the design of centralised project management tools whose focus is on gathering management information. Is it a  chore to use the system, so people don’t?

5. Responsibility based governance structures are absent, this is sometimes described as “collaborative decision making”. Is this an ideal situation when the organisation needs action?

6. There is a tendency to always say yes to internal customers, even when their requests are conflicting, unplanned or unreasonably difficult. Have systems become overly complex because they accommodate all requests where possible; where almost nothing is standard?

7. Incoming staff have difficulty coping with the uncertainty of your processes.  Is “How do I do X” a phrase that you hear every day?

In the short-term, some strong project management helps to overcome the above, however, a Program Management Office is probably needed to change habits in the long run.

Have a great week.


About the Author: Adam Blackie is an author and a professional Interim Manager who leads information management teams through their change programmes. He works with organisations in the UK to change the way technology is used by staff and their customers.


About Adam Blackie

A career Freelance Accountant who specialises in leading helping others to hold onto their money.
This entry was posted in Agile, change management, Implementing Change, leading change, project management, teamwork and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 7 Agile habits to avoid

  1. Matt Palmer says:

    Hi Adam,

    all of those things sound like bad things for an organisation, but they don’t sound like “Agile habits”. I have heard the viewpoint expressed that Agile = no planning, but that’s not Agile – that’s just bad management.

    Having implemented Agile development processes in two very different organisations, I simply don’t recognise the other points, although I have seen it to be difficult to interface Agile development with non-Agile management.

    Agile works best when, as it’s name suggests, there is a need to be Agile. Agility is most useful in the face of high degrees of uncertainty in requirements, workload, technological capability and prioritisation. The essence of Agile methodologies are precisely to provide control over what would otherwise be chaos (or a false sense of predictability – the never ending Gantt chart update), giving fast feedback on progress and providing controlled change capability in the face of high uncertainty. Not all environments need that – if you’re building well understood things with predictabily as a core part of the environment, then Agile probably has very little to offer.

    Finally, Agile methodologies are not project management in any case. It really comes from a development / manufacturing perspective. Any organisation that thinks they can replace their project management with agile has failed to understand both!

What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s