Assembling a New Agile Team? Avoid These 3 Common Mistakes

Eugene LaiTue, 10/22/2019 - 17:07

Assembling a new Agile team? Avoid these 3 mistakes that can send you down the wrong path

After months of long meetings with your management folks, you finally got the go-ahead to put together your first Agile team as an experiment to see whether Agile practices will actually work for your organization. This is an exciting time, but also a risky time for you! There are many ways to get this done but there are also many potential pitfalls that you need to watch for.

Assembling an Agile Team

What can possibly go wrong? Lots of things! Here are a few things to consider before you take the leap.

Pitfall #1 – No Product Owner (or absentee Product Owner)

It is tempting to put together a team of highly-skilled technical people and start coding right away without focusing on what is most important; this is why an Agile team must have a Product Owner who can help determine the priority of the work and help the team build the most valuable “thing” first.

Pitfall #2 – No formal training

Many new Agile teams feel that they can “figure it out” on their own since “Agile” is so simple. Without direct experience operating in this new way of working or formal training, most teams will either fail miserably, or delay the deliver of any valuable output, or even worse, create a bad perception of Agile within the organization that impairs other teams/business units from getting the opportunity to adopt Agile.

Pitfall #3 – Assign the Development/Engineering Manager as the Scrum Master (by default)

I want to be sure to clarify that some managers have the appropriate mindset and aptitude to serve effectively as a Scrum Master. However, in my observation, more often than not, managers seem to lack the “servant leader” mentality and tend to be more comfortable operating in a “command & control” approach, which is not suitable in the Scrum Master role. Obviously, this is a case-by-case situation, but it is usually advantageous to take a closer look at the individual to ensure that this person has the appropriate skillset to do the job.

Having the opportunity to put together a team of your choosing is an exciting time, but it’s wise to consult help from experienced Agile experts who can provide guidance and help you avoid mistakes that can cost you in the long run.