10 Ways to Fail Despite Scrum and XP

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My last sessions of the Agile 2008 conference was a light talk by Henrik Kniberg. He was a fun speaker to listen to and He presented a nice talk on the following anti-patterns and I pass them on to you, here.

  1. Believing the hype
    1. If a company is really not willing to change, methodologies will not help them.
    2. Management discussion:
      1. Let’s go Agile!
      2. Good idea. Where’s the installation CD?
  2. Definition of Done
    1. not having one
    2. not respecting one
  3. Velocity
    1. Not knowing your own
    2. Not using it to try and improve team performance
    3. Not using it to do release planning
  4. Retrospective
    1. doesn’t happen
    2. no improvements recommended
    3. unwanted people at the meeting
    4. people not participating
    5. proposed changes no implemented
  5. Team commitment
    1. Team doesn’t track and learn
    2. Team doesn’t sit together
    3. Always under or over committing
    4. No slack or reserved capacity
  6. Technical debt
    1. “We don’t have time to write unit tests or refactor code”
    2. Lack of code coverage or inattention to it
    3. Having to find who wrote it to learn how it works
    4. Big bang rewrites
    5. Decreasing velocity as the system grows is a sign of technical debt
    6. Lack of automated tests
  7. Teamwork
    1. “I finished my stuff”
    2. Fixed roles
    3. Personal backlogs or velocities
    4. Not helping each other
    5. Personal incentive models
    6. Implementing all stories in parallel
  8. Product Backlog and Product Owner problems Note: See APOP.
    1. No PBL
    2. Never ending stories
    3. PBL is not visible
    4. PO without domain knowledge
    5. PO sees PBLs as an annoying administrative responsibility
    6. PO thinks specs or MRDs are what the team needs to get the work done.
    7. PO surprised at sprint demo (smalls of not being involved with the team)
    8. PO being a bottleneck for communication or decision making
  9. Mergephobia – The irrational fear or merging code
    1. No “done” branch
    2. No checkin policies for testing
    3. Branching to avoid conflicting work in a codebase
  10. Taskboard abuse
    1. Doesn’t exist
    2. Too far from the team
    3. Too complicated
    4. Not used during daily scrum
    5. No burndown
    6. Not updated daily
    7. Not used to guide decisions

Bonus: Worrying too much.

6 thoughts on “10 Ways to Fail Despite Scrum and XP

  1. Surely an interesting summary, but could you explain what the abbreviations mean? (I am still a student)
    Especially PO and PBL don’t make any sense to me

  2. A thought-provoking insight on the pitfalls of agile methodologies implementations.
    Is there a you-tube or video clip recording this presentation by Henrik Kniberg?

  3. PO is “Product Owner.” It’s like a customer; the person who uses your application and tells you how it should work (i.e. what the requirements are).

    PBL is “Product Backlog,” which is a proritized list of all the functionality that should (eventually?) go into the product. PM puts items on it, prioritizes it; the team takes chunks of it per sprint and implements it.

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