Are You Overdoing Agile? Maybe you Need a Break!

Overdoing Agile

In the race to become more agile and adaptive, organizations are rushing to employ the Agile software development model. But unfortunately, going haywire to follow the software development process only demotivates the workforce, degrades performance, and interrupts customer experience. 

We know agile as the world of ideation and innovation that has gone beyond development and production processes. It has become synonymous with Automation: fast and powerful. But, many tech companies do not understand the risks of going agile-extreme as they have likely gone astray from the real Agile Manifesto. 

Few businesses in their pursuit of adopting the agile model have neglected the importance of quality-driven and customer-centric product delivery.

Agile is known to make projects less tedious and simpler, but do you really know the purpose of going agile, or have you lost track amidst a blizzard of buzzwords?  

What is the Purpose of Going Agile?

Agile software development was introduced in 2001 with a set of four critical principles. These standards were presented to improve software development processes and results:

  1. Individuals and collaborations instead of procedures and tools.
  2. Operational software instead of detailed documentation.
  3. Customer interaction instead of contract discussion.
  4. Responding to change requests instead of following a plan.

But as per common observations, companies claiming to follow an agile mindset have been wildly deviating from this set of standards. 

For example, procedures and tools are still the most trusted work drivers over individuals and collaborations. Companies do not allow their employees to question the Agile practice and leave less room for ideation and experimentation. Therefore, overdoing agile and relying too much on methodologies and software will reduce the value of humans, and eventually their interactive sessions where new ideas are born.  

The above-mentioned are just an example of how common deviations from Agile only lead to a poor user experience. Let’s discuss how being overly Agile operational can make you least agile:

Downsides of Overdoing Agile Methodology

You might not know, but your agile process is going awry, therefore, for a deeper analysis read on to the following downsides of agile development processes:

Less Documentation and Paperwork

According to an ‘Agile Myth’, there is less documentation in Agile. Most product owners and their Dev teams confuse this myth with reality. This is merely a false notion, as Agile asks for more attention to software delivery and not to take away documentation altogether. Since most product requirements are specified during the development phase, the documentation is often less descriptive. This refers that new members in the agile team shall always lack a crucial understanding of the product requirements and the performance goals. Therefore, lack of documentation creates ambiguities among the team members and eventually disturbs the product delivery.

The Fear of the Unknown

In some cases, developers cannot quantify the degree of effort required for software delivery. This occurs during the earlier SDLC stages when the product is complex. Professionals that are new to the agile world cannot be highly predictable about the situation. Thus, anonymity triggers frustration which leads to malpractices and ultimately lost customer satisfaction.

Lack of Client Participation and Burden on Developers 

The agile principles require close communication and involvement between the service provider and the client. This is deemed as a rewarding process but can demand an onerous amount of commitment throughout the SDLC to ensure a successful product shipment. Therefore, the clients must know how to communicate business expectations and often, assist the software development process. Otherwise, the lack of understanding can impact the entirety of software quality. 

This lack of customer participation subsequently points fingers at the development team’s credibility to produce quality work.

Software Engineer Lose Motivation

It is perceived that agile motivate good performance in developers and testers. But, when Agile goes extreme, the total motivation of the team declines. The reason being that they have to rely on ever-changing client communication, which leads to lesser improvisation and experiments, and almost no work autonomy. They do not feel a sense of potential, participation, and purpose; instead, they feel emotionally drained or lethargic towards work. They stop to adapt, evolve, learn, and be productive at work. 

Developers May Lose Track 

Only following a plan often gets mistaken as “don’t have a plan.” For example, in a progressive IT organization, if the Agile teams could not understand the bigger plan or strategy, they iterate tactically less important features consequently. Although there are numerous Jira Test Management Tools like Kualitee that assist in keeping track of every change and update. However, exploitation of the customer-centric agile model can result in the worst product delivery ever. Therefore, having no plan hinders your team to arrange and prioritize their tasks responsibly.

How to Make Agile Work Better for You? 

Wait! Do not get demotivated over agile. All the above-discussed points are only aimed to help become more agile-friendly and not agile-extreme. It is crucial to balance the equation between becoming agile and improvise accordingly for a highly efficient product development model. Many tech giants have been using it successfully, but the key is to not make it awry while striving to become too adaptive or tactical in the pursuit of high performance. 

It is necessary to balance both tactics and adaptive sides of performance. As an engineer or product manager, you must find this balance sometimes through improvisation and making a suitable decision. While there can be situations when you are required to move quickly during the software development phase, there are times when you should go slow, even still for some time. These are points when you want to think like the customer to revamp according to their anticipated experiences. Hasting yourself through these times can take you away from the greatness you could have achieved from careful retrospecting.

The agile manifesto allows you to go slow or fast according to the product requirement. Who does not know Jeff Bezos? Well, he often termed himself as the “chief slowdown officer,” and involved himself in the coding process when he thought the team was doing it too quickly without considering customer problems – to deliver an optimum solution. 

Therefore, it is you who choose the best solution for a better customer-efficient product achieved through high performance and team motivation. 

Takeaways

Instead of preaching agile as a religion that cannot be doubted, software development teams should be allowed to analyze and iterate their team’s working model. Because if you are losing the human equation in terms of motivation and performance, you would not be able to build a truly agile firm. 

Leave room for questions and experimentation and maybe take a break from being exceedingly agile!

Because as Gen George Patton says: “If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed by the results.”