There are many Agile myths which create unrealistic expectations that teams will switch to Agile and all their problems will be solved. Well, this is not the case, and when you here from teams "Agile did not work for us", you are dealing with a case of unrealistic expectations. To avoid this, I put together most common myths I'm used to. Please add yours to the list - I'm sure all of you had a fair share of those.
Myth 1: Agile is a project management framework.
Reality: Agile is a way of thinking. It is a set of values starting with our customer being the end goal and including team collaboration, commitment to quality, focus on people, empowerment and self-organization listed in Agile Manifesto.
Myth 2: Agile is all about processes.
Reality: Agile is about people, their collaboration, and orchestration of value delivery. Processes are a means to this delivery, not a goal.
Myth 3: If we are doing daily standups, we are Agile.
Reality: Agile is a mindset and doing any of Agiel ceremonies, does not mean that a team is Agile.
I took Agile training and got certified. Now I am an Agile professional.Agile (or Scrum) 2-day training and certification does not make you an Agile professional yet. It takes 2 days to get certified and a lifetime to master.
Myth 4: Agile means “no planning”.
Reality: Agile establishes a pre-defined cadence and makes the delivery transparent. Planning is performed continuously: from release to product to sprint planning to daily scrum. In Kanban, cycle time allows to predict delivery with accuracy. Every Agile framework has planning built into it.
Myth 5: Agile is equal to Scrum.
Reality: There are multiple Agile frameworks, and Scrum is most popular. However, there are many other ones: kanban, XP, and many hybrid approaches.
Myth 6: Agile works with software teams only.
Reality: Agile works for any team - software or business. It is important though to implement Agile thinking and build Agile mindset at enterprise level, otherwise teams will face multiple challenges coming from the waterfall mentality.
Myth 7: Agile teams have to be co-located.
Reality: Today's reality is that most software delivery teams are distributed. There are multiple tools for online collaboration and delivery, which are successfully utilized by Agile teams.
Myth 8: Agile works at team-level only and with small-scope projects.
Reality: Agile scales at the program, value stream, and enterprise level. There are multiple Agile scaling frameworks, depending on the organization, culture, and the type of business.
Myth 9: Agile means “no documentation”.
Reality: Documentation is very important. It has to be relevant and sufficient.
Myth 10: Agile work is hard to predict.
Reality: Agile work is highly predictable. In Agile, you know real-time how the team or program is tracking against objectives.
Myth 11: Managers are not needed in Agile.
Reality: Managers have a special role in an Agile enterprise. They build and support teams, remove impediments, provide coaching, support career progression of team members.
Myth 12: You can't pick and choose your Agile practices.
Reality: Agile is a toolbox - there are multiple tools and techniques to build the right combination for each implementation. At the same time, there are Agile non-negotiables, otherwise you will end up with “scrumbut”, such as "we are doing Scrum, but we are not doing retrospective. Continuous improvement is a pre-requisite for being Agile, so it is important to recognize and avoid "scumbuts".
Myth 13: In 2-4 Sprints, we can master Agile.
Reality: Agile is a journey and there is always an opportunity to improve. The most important value of self-sustainable teams is continuous improvement.
Myth 14: The goal of Agile is to increase velocity.
Reality: Agile optimizes value delivery and customer satisfaction, not just productivity.
Myth 15: Agile means "ad hoc".
Reality: Agile is highly structured and disciplined. It's oriented towards value delivery and driven by metrics on a daily basis.
The biggest myth: Agile is a silver bullet.
Reality: Agile is not a sillver bullet, it's a silver mirror. If won't fix the problems, but it will expose them to you so that you become aware of those and fix them. Prepare to work hard on your agile journey, otherwise you will end up in "Agile did not work for us" category :-)
Transformation agent with experience in business transformation including transition to Agile (Scrum, kanban, lean) and building scaled Agile and Lean organizations. Passionate about motivating people and building great teams.