Hard Questions for Agile

I am seeing a lot of the same questions come up over and over again recently. Now that larger organizations are starting to see the benefits of agile, more and more questions are coming up.

Everyone (including myself) has a desire to have a prescribed method, process, checklist, etc. that they can use to make sure they are doing things the “right way”. In Scrum, there is a pretty clear list of activities, artifacts, and roles. People struggle because these lists provide the “whats” but not the “hows”. For example, when I tell teams that they need to have one product owner for that project, they are sometimes at a loss; “How do we find one product owner? Our organization won’t support that!”.

Below is a list of questions that I have seen come up over and over again. I’m going to address them over time (as I have more time).

  1. How can agile work on large projects?
    • I know this is being addressed slowly, but there are just not enough case studies out there. The standard “Scrum of Scrums” just doesn’t cut it anymore, meaning that there are serious complexities that aren’t addressed in the standard definition.
  2. How do I work with a vendor that does not want to take and agile approach?
  3. How does interaction design work in an agile environment?
    • I have not met any interaction designers (HCI type people) who really buy into the concept of iterative, incremental development.
  4. Our company is committed to PMBOK, how can agile fit in this environment?
  5. Our company needs to make financial projections that are 5 years out. How can we do this using an agile approach without trying to plan everything up front?
    • We in agile know that it is a myth that you can accurately plan everything up front.
  6. Our company needs to be CMMI compliant to be able to work with government entities. How can we be CMMI level 1-5 compliant and still follow the agile values?
  7. We have a project that’s in crisis. How can agile rescue our project?

I’ll add more as I hear them, but these are the biggies. Feel free to provide input or links that addresses any of these questions.


About Andre Simones
I am a founding partner of One80 Services that specializes in agile training, small business and startup guidance, and custom development. My goal is plain and simple. To see others succeed. I want to teach you how stop doing the things that aren't working and give you tools that will empower you to succeed on your own.

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