Anti-patterns in Enterprise Agility

Based on my continuing experiences in applying agility at enterprise scale, I’ve observed a few anti-patterns (common but ineffective practices) that appear fairly frequently. If not addressed, any one of these could seriously limit the productivity and quality benefits that agile can deliver. Taken together,  it could be a real nightmare.

My short list includes:

  • Insufficient refactoring of testing organizational structures and inadequate test automation resources to meet the needs of agile development teams
  • Lack of team training and/or proficiency in basic agile technical practices themselves (shared code ownership, continuous component and system level integration, concurrent testing, pair/peer review, extreme incrementalism, etc), resulting in iterations and sprints being treated as branched, parallel development and feature-driven milestones, rather than shippable increments of software
  • Insufficient or inadequate organizational depth and competency in the critical product owner role
  • Inadequate coordination of vision and delivery milestones due to nonexistent or ineffective coordinated, multi-level release planning

These can occur individually or together within the same enterprise.

If your enterprise is experiencing any of these, feel free to send me a note and I’ll respond with some tips and suggestions. Also, if you have experiences to share and suggestions of your own, I’d be happy to post those as well, with or without attribution at your request. In any case, I’ll try to provide a few suggestions to address these particular challenges in one or more future posts.


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