Most Common Agile Myths

There are lot of Agile Myths and it has been so much practiced that somewhere the teams are confused with Myths and Facts.

1. Product Owner and Scrum Master can be same person

a. Never do that. That is disaster. It’s a conflict of interest for both the parties. Product Owner tends to be demanding role and Scrum Master is neutral who helps the team to push back demands more than they could commit

2. ScrumMaster draws the burn-down & burn-up charts

a. No. ScrumMaster is a facilitator. Everybody owns the Burndown chart and Scrum Master may help the team in drawing it if needed

3. Only those could be a Scrum Master who are certified in this role

a. Well its funny to hear such points. Anybody who has a trait to help others, believes in openness, motivates the team and passionate to facilitate and move the team towards the desired goal faster and quicker could be a good ScrumMaster. ScrumMaster ensures that the team become self-organizing, adaptable to change, highly performing and always focused towards delivering the better version of product in short intervals of time. Even a 8 year old kid can be a better scrum master than a 55 years experienced professional

4. ScrumMaster takes the updates in the daily standup meetings

a. Well if this is how you are doing then you are not doing it appropriately at all.
b. Daily standup is a team meeting where ultimate goal is to find out how much work remained to achieve the goal of the sprint and do the replan to move toward it

5. Daily stand-ups running more than 15 min

a. The whole idea is to have a quick connect and thats why it is named standup
b. Everyone quickly updates on what they have done last day, whats their plan for today and if they have any blockers they can talk about that
c. We do not do technical discussions. You need to flag it and park it for the standup to over. Then whoever is interested would join your conversation

6. user stories are requirement documents

a. User stories are one liners written in the end user’s perspective
b. There is a value that a story talks about and that is something we deliver
c. User stories are not requirement documents but they could help you in writing the document very effectively if you want

7. Agile says no documentation

a. Well this is very much misunderstood
b. Agile says no comprehensive documentation as time to know everything is high which is actually impossible to know upfront, then time to write everything is high, time to read everything is high and so on
c. Documentation is LIVE here. It is always getting updated as we incrementally grow towards the end goal
d. Agile emphasis more on conversation and confirming the understanding by clearly written acceptance criteria against each story

8. Agile Audits

a. Well it is very debatable topic. Audit happens against set parameters and guidelines. Agile is a continuous journey where one team who is highly performing could get stuck in very next sprint or there may be some reason which could turn down their agility
b. Failure is OK and in agile we believe in failing faster which I believe the audit reports may not like
c. Ofcorse there could be practices and parameters that could help you in knowing Agility Health of your team or organization but they should help team to introspect and find their own answers which they could then vote and decide to improve. It could happen every quarter or month but absolutely not a stricter way and should respect the anonymity if ever conducted

9. We can only do scrum but not Kanban Or Kanban but not XP or something like that

a. Well, our focus is to BE AGILE. Scrum, Kanban ,XP are different approaches which has practices that helps us in becoming agile. So, we choose which practice we could use, which one we couldn’t and something that you use now may not be needed tomorrow or may be you create your own version
b. I have seen teams practicing Scrum and have visual boards and define WIP limits which are Kanban practices and also do TDD, CI, Refactoring and often play planning poker to estimate stories and tasks. Now, these are all XP practices which they may not be even aware of but believe in it

10. We CAN NOT DO AGILE because…

a. Agile is a mindset that helps us in creating a culture. Now there could be many reasons where you feel you could not agile like
b. We are Production Support team, we are not creating software, we are just 2-3 people team, We do not have roles like scrum in our team, Yada Yada Yada
c. Knowingly unknowingly we all are agile and that may not be quoted into approaches or different practices but we are handling changes in many ways. You need to tailor your process, the way you want to be, the degree of change you could bring in and needless to use the terms and jargons that others are using
d. Be a smart agile carpenter where Scrum, Kanban, XP, Lean ,DSDM and many others are different tools in your box. You may choose any tool you want in whatever combination that works for you and if it doesn’t you make your own but just DO NOT GET STUCK. FAIL FASTER and CREATE SUSTAINABLE solutions.

There could dozens of more but it is important to understand what agile is.. 🙂