Key Challenges In An Agile Team

Challenges in Agile Methodologies

The purpose of the article is to let Agile teams know what are the different challenges in Agile that cause teams in an organization to fail.

Different Time Zones

Effective communication is one of the key attributes in the Agile team. If the team is distributed across different locations, the team faces difficulties in communicating as they are in different time zones. Due to different time zones, the development team, product owner, Team coach (Scrum Master), and tester cannot communicate properly. Lack of proper communication creates problems in understanding the product vision, mission, road maps and day to day delivery.

Example: Development team in New Delhi - India, Product owner in New York, Scrum Master in Los Angeles and QA in Canberra decide to join a Scrum meeting. The challenge they face is: at what time will they plan a Scrum call?

 

The best result in the team will be achieved if they communicate face to face, not in the distributed remote team.

 Lack of  Trust

Lack of trust can kill any team. Since the Agile team needs to deliver every 2 weeks of the sprint trust among the business, development team, and stakeholders is highly essential. Trust can be achieved with effective communication and collaboration among the team.

 

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Trust among developers, scrum master, QA, product owner, stakeholders brings a better ecosystem, team processes, adaptability, and high performance. Trust should be built from the beginning of the project and day by day and the confidence of that trust level should increase continuously.

Micromanagement in the team

Micromanagement has been a key pain point in any team for a long time, and there are large number of professionals who sustain their job by playing the blame game or doing dirty politics in the team. Agile team members are self organized, self motivated and everyone understands their responsibility. Blaming a team  member for any reason, delegating all the work to subordinates, or dominating the team in the name of leadership does not bring any benefit to the team; rather, it degrades the performance to the team. In an Agile framework, there is no space for micromanagement.

 

There should not be an ego problem among the team. All the team members should work for a common goal that is building a winning team, making it sustainable, and better day by day. Everyone is a leader irrespective of professional experience and everyone is a winning player in Agile.

Most organizations in the agile environment, prefer technical persons with technical hands-on experience, technical understanding, an ability to negotiate for the scrum master, and a product owner who can really understand the pain of the agile team.

Accept to Inspect and Adapt

Agile team gets to its optimum pace when there is a scope to inspect and practice to adopt. Learning from past mistakes and not doing the same mistake again is the key to success in any individual or team. Most of the team doesn’t look to the sprint retrospective meeting where the team discusses what went well, what went badly and what the scopes to improve are.

 

No Experience with Agile

A lack of experience in agile may be one of the challenges. The concept of Agile mixed with the normal traditional waterfall model in many of Agile teams is one reason for failure. 

Building a winning team and sustaining the team

Building a winning team and sustaining the team for a long time is a challenge for agile teams. Bringing the right people to the right place at the right time is one of the keys to success. Without the right people neither a team nor an organization can last  in the modern area.

Collaboration

Collaboration is the key to success to the agile team. As agile has a short iteration development time frame the team collaboration is the key to success.

Excess work for the developers and development team

The development team experiences many difficulties in implementing agile. Lack of clarity of the requirements, no proper communication for the requirement, product mission, vision and roadmap brings discomfort to the team. Most of the time the quality of the work suffers due to shorter development time.

Apart from the development, there should be proper time allocation to focus on code refactoring, code review, testing, code check in, merging, branching and self documentation of the code which brings a  lot more benefit in the long run.

Lack of proper understanding on requirements, no proper testing strategy, no process to identify the definition of done, not freezing the current scope of development, no support from management are the probably some of the reasons where the development team fails; and ultimately the agile team fails .

To bring the agile team success, some of the best practices to be followed are highlighted below.

 

Together, as a team, we succeed and fail as a team too. It is great teamwork which brings success, not any individual and not any leader. A leader is a person who takes the responsibility as a team.

APJ Abdul Kalam, the great leader, said, "When failure occurs, a leader should humbly own it and acknowledge it. When success comes, the leader should again have the humility to give credit to all the people who worked for it."

 
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I hope you got some information to bring  success to an agile team. Please share your comments, feedback, or suggestions to help others to bring a better agile environment  in the workplace.

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