Half-baked Agile

I have been involved in leading several agile transformations at this stage in my career. In every case many of those around me held firm to a core belief that they had already been working in an agile way, and that the cultural transformation was for the others, not for them. In particular three groups of people stand out:

  • Engineers who believed that their involvement in SCRUM-like ceremonies for planning was evidence that they were working in an agile way.
  • Product owners or project managers, who also felt that planning on a regular cadence was the key facet of agility in the context of product delivery.
  • Senior managers who believed agile ways of working were for their teams, not for them, and continued to operate using deadlines and traditional milestones as their key tools for creating accountability.
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Epics: the raw materials for scaled agile

The various scaled agile frameworks make use of some common building blocks which many practitioners will be familiar with. Stories are often the most familiar, as they are the raw material of the SCRUM and Kanban practices which have been applied at the team/squad level for many years, particularly in technical teams. However, in the process of scaling these practices a need for larger aggregations of work was needed, and in response to this need, emerged epics.

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