Disillusioned by Agile? Handbook For Practitioners


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Disillusioned by Agile?

From Pain to Progress: Diagnose and Alleviate Agile Dysfunction

The initial promises of agility were envisioned with great optimism, aiming to streamline customer-developer interactions, enhance customer value delivery, and foster continual problem-solving within businesses.

Yet, reflecting on over two decades of agile practices, it appears that these promises have largely remained unfulfilled.

What happened?

Instead, we have witnessed a disturbing trend: The flexible and responsive methodologies of Scrum, Kanban, and other agile approaches, originally designed for simplicity, have gradually contorted to fit into complex and convoluted organizational structures.

Instead of breaking down large and cumbersome processes into manageable units, there has been a tendency to construct intricate frameworks using agile concepts, often leading to confusion and frustration among practitioners.

… and the consequences:

As a result, disillusionment has permeated the agile community, with many feeling a sense of helplessness in effecting meaningful change. Debates and disagreements have intensified, contributing to a growing atmosphere of skepticism and discontent.

In light of these developments, the title “Disillusioned by Agile?” seems particularly fitting, capturing the sentiments shared by numerous individuals and prompting a critical reassessment of the current state of agile methodologies.

Why I am writing this book:

My objective is to re-establish a firm grounding in the fundamental values and principles of agility, offering insights into the common pitfalls that often derail agile transformations.

Amidst the complex and sometimes conflicting information, I will provide practical guidelines to help you evaluate your own agile journey more critically.

Additionally, I will share strategies to help you navigate the challenges of implementing genuine agile principles within the complexities of real-world business scenarios.

What you will get:

  • A deep understanding of the original values and principles of agility
  • Insights into the traps and pitfalls that can derail agile transformations
  • Heuristics for judging your current agile situation
  • Practical advice on how to obtain better results by following the original agile principles

Early Edition: Exciting Progress Update

While the first four chapters are in a relatively advanced stage, Chapter 5 is currently in development, with plans for Chapters 6 to 10 already in the pipeline.

Curious to Learn More?

Sign up now to gain early access to the preliminary version of the book. Receive regular updates and a complimentary copy of the final publication upon release.

Want to Get Involved?

Contribute to the project as a valued reviewer. Your feedback is invaluable and will be duly acknowledged in the book.

Join us in our endeavor to reshape the understanding of agile methodologies for a more sustainable and effective approach to modern business challenges.

Jiri Lundak is a seasoned Agile coach and software developer who has lived and breathed Agile values and principles for over two decades. His vast experience encompasses technical work as a Senior Software Engineer/Architect, leadership as a CTO, and product ownership, where he has built successful products with multiple teams that have outperformed much larger project organizations.

For the past ten years, Jiri has generously shared his accumulated wisdom as an Agile Coach/Scrum Master in a wide range of organizations, from small boutique startups to large corporations striving to catch up with their leaner competitors. His deep understanding of software engineering enables him to maintain a balanced perspective when implementing change in organizations.

Jiri is a firm believer that Agile must serve customers first and foremost, followed by developers who are responsible for creating value for customers. He asserts that all other roles in the Agile framework should exist solely to make the lives of customers and developers easier. This is a fundamental principle that many people fail to grasp today.

Throughout his career, Jiri has witnessed the complexities of project management. He has been involved in both wildly successful and utterly failed projects. These experiences have led him to conclude that most traditional software development approaches are incapable of delivering what customers truly want. Project management often focuses on minimizing variation and change (in budget, schedule, and scope) instead of maximizing ROI for the customer. Jiri actively fights against this fundamental flaw.

Jiri is a passionate advocate for Agile and its ability to deliver value to customers. He is a passionate coach and trainer, and his insights are highly valued by those seeking to improve their software development practices.

Table Of Contents

1 Why Are There Problems with Agility?
1.1 Misunderstandings
1.2 A Blanket Solution?
1.3 Bad News
1.4 Agile without Effort?
1.5 Prescribed Agility?
1.6 The Iceberg Model
1.7 Recognizing Causes of Problems
1.8 A Taxonomy of Problems
1.9 Assessing Causes
1.10 Calibrating Perception
2 When Is One Agile?
2.1 Agile Methods
2.2 Agile Values
2.2.1 Simplicity
2.2.2 Transparency
2.2.3 Coherence
2.2.4 Adaptation
2.2.5 Learning
2.2.6 Collaboration
2.2.7 Courage
2.2.8 Trust and Respect
2.2.9 Accountability
2.3 Values in Traditional Projects
2.3.1 Compliance
2.3.2 Repeatability
2.3.3 Traceability
2.3.4 Efficiency
2.3.5 Specialization
2.3.6 Need for Recognition
2.4 Principles
2.5 Practices
2.5.1 An Agile Metric?
3 Emotionally Charged
3.1 Insecurity
3.1.1 Lack of Knowledge
3.1.2 Lack of Trust
3.1.3 Unpredictability

3.2 Anxiety
3.2.1 Transparency
3.2.2 Loss of Face
3.2.3 Loss of Influence
3.2.4 Responsibility
3.3 Inertia
3.3.1 nertia of the Masses
3.3.2 Comfort
3.4 Inconsequence
3.4.1 Half-heartedness
3.4.2 Consideration
3.5 Overestimating One’s Abilities
3.5.1 Programming
3.5.2 Commitment
3.6 Ego
3.6.1 Little Kingdoms
3.6.2 Main Thing, My Code Works
3.6.3 Heroes
3.7 Sympathy
3.7.1 Sense of Belonging
3.8 Lack of Discipline
3.8.1 Lack of Self-Discipline
3.8.2 No Team Code
3.8.3 No Sense of Responsibility
3.9 Indifference
3.9.1 No Interest in Improvement
3.9.2 No Interest in Self-Organization
3.10 Virtues
3.10.1 Accuracy
3.10.2 Protective Instinct
3.10.3 Everything Under Control
3.10.4 The Decision Maker
3.11 From Individual to Culture
4 Culture Shock
4.1 What is Corporate Culture?
4.2 Culture and the Individual
4.2.1 Culture as a Framework
4.2.2 Culture as a Guide
4.2.3 Culture as a Filter
4.2.4 Culture and Security
4.3 Culture and Agility
4.3.1 Anchored Values
4.3.2 Contradictions
4.3.3 Change

4.4 Four Culture Types
4.4.1 Hierarchical Culture
4.4.2 Market Culture
4.4.3 Clan Culture
4.4.4 Ad-hoc Culture
4.5 Organizational Structures
4.5.1 Top-Down Controlling
4.5.2 Trapped in the Matrix
4.5.3 Structure
4.5.4 When Multiple Companies Collaborate
4.6 Dealing with Employees
4.6.1 Need for Control
4.6.2 Lack of Suitable Employees
4.7  Opinion on Processes
4.7.1 Provided Standard Procedure
4.7.2 Inappropriate Auxiliary Processes in the Company
4.8 Dealing with Customers
4.8.1 Strict Contracts
4.8.2 Ininvolved Customers
4.9 Management of Knowledge
4.9.1 Poor Distribution of Know-how
4.9.2 Management Know-how for Executives Only
4.10 Problem Solving
4.10.1 A Good Broom for Problems
4.10.2 Prescribed Escalation
4.10.3 Finger Pointing
4.10.4 Strengthening the Rulebook
4.11 Communicated Values
4.11.1 Where Are the Deeds?
4.11.2 No Moral Support
4.11.3 Interference
4.11.4 Promoting Individual Performance
4.12 Holding a Mirror Up to the Environment
5 Broken Reflection (Coming soon)
6 Let’s Adapt Tomorrow (TBD)
7 Together We Are Weak (TBD)
8 Avoidance Mindset? (TBD)
9 9 Thoughts on Scaling Agility (TBD)
10 Agility Outside of Software Engineering (TBD)
11 Outro
How Can You Help?
Where Will I Be Informed About Updates?

Look into the book – some sample pages


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