The Top 10 (Or So) Things I Wish Everyone Knew about Agile

October 19, 2011 — Posted by Al Shalloway

Students in my Kanban training classes ask great questions. Many of these questions come up so often that I have started a list of my "Top 10 (or so) things I wish people knew about Lean-Kanban."

Here is my list and I'd like to know what you think should be added. I will be filling in more information about these over the next few weeks, so keep checking in with me.

The Top 10 (or so) things I wish everyone knew about Agile

  1. Scrum is not the same as Agile.
  2. You do not have to use Scrum to start the transition to Agile. 
  3. Acceptance Test-Driven Development should almost always be part of a transition to Agile.
  4. Complexity does not mean non-predictability.
  5. Effective Agile development requires a holistic view.
  6. Understanding flow is essential to organizations with greater than 50 developers. And it is still very useful for smaller organizations.
  7. To reduce the amount of collaboration required between teams, it is more efficient to manage backlogs than to rely on collaboration alone.
  8. Understanding "why" is essential if you are trying to achieve agility across more than one team.
  9. If you undertake a process based on values and practices without a solid grounding in principles, you should expect stagnation or reversal of progress after 3-9 months.
  10. If you get a proposal from a consultant who has had success with only one Agile approach, expect them to propose that same approach regardless of whether it is best for you.
  11. Scrum of Scrum's does not work as well as creating a holistic view. (See # 7.)
  12. Making big changes to the way teams work is often not as effective as introducing change gradually.
  13. Knowing when to use a prescriptive approach or to use a principles-based approach lowers the risk of failure.

Alan Shalloway
CEO, Net Objectives

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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With over 40 years of experience, Alan is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, SAFe, Scrum and agile design.


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