Monday, November 09, 2009

Fragile Agile

It has been around two year since I am working in Agile development environment. At our place we plan two weeks work and execute that plan. Any leftovers or new things are accommodated in next sprint. As some people think that waterfall model is dead and agile environment is silver bullet; I think the other way.

Lately I am feeling uncomfortable with all this agile stuff. As you might be knowing that in agile you have three key players 1) Product Owner 2) Scrum Master and 3) Developers. Developers are developers. Most of the time they just worry about their piece of code. Many of them can’t see the temple they are building. Scrum master is usually supposed to maintain some distance with the development. He is just enabler who removes any impediment of team. Now product owner has lots of stake here. He is the one who is answerable to all for the success/failure of the project. This guy is supposed to have a very close tab on entire development. If he misses any bit or not that competitive, that’s it… you will have a castle of sand.

Another point is to have good backlog of items. What was missed in past sprint and what are new items development team is picking up without conveying to product owner. Another problem I see with sprint planning and being agile is that you sneak in many non planned things at development time. Hence you might keep getting new sprints and see no delivery date.

My take is that there should be one master sprint (if you want to call it so) as well. This sprint will keep a track of all sprints. To some people this master sprint will give the feeling of a project plan. For me it is necessary otherwise you will be in a position where all sprints are complete but your product is still not in shipping state. To me agile is just a tracking mechanism which will let you track your project on a day by day basis so that you can take some corrective measures. But agile can not replace the wisdom of a human being. You have to be there as a manager (not one who just knows excel and outlook ;-)) to oversee everything and pitch in if something smells fishy.

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