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Agile practices: Misuses and misperceptions

Agile might be the word on everyone's lips, but it's not necessarily implemented or understood correctly. In this article, Christina Torode interviews Joseph Flahiff on the elements of Agile that most companies either overlook or simply get wrong. As with any buzzword, Agile is often only understood in part, and when Agile is finally understood, believed to be too difficult to utilize. As Flahiff explains: Most people who take my Agile and Lean fundamentals class just want to learn what is this Agile thing and how do I apply it? When we get into what it really takes to do Scrum correctly — and these are things that break it for most companies, like the need for 100% dedicated people and teams and fully cross-functional teams — they say they can't do that. With Agile, you need “specializing generalists” who can jump on many tasks in a project backlog. In many organizations, that doesn't work — when you have very deep tools and technologies, where people really know that and only that. People in the class say, “Well, having a dedicated team of people and generalists doesn't work for me.” Flahiff goes on to explain how he recognizes who should and shouldn't be using Agile, the common disconnects that people have between what Agile is and what it only seems to be, and how “being fast” is only part of the formula. He also explains what he sees as the biggest misuse of Agile as a tool to push teams to go faster and produce more. As Flahiff explains, the success of Agile is 80% culture an 20% practices ““ not the other way around.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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