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What’s the Biggest Agile Myth You’ve Heard?

Stacey Ackerman

We recently asked our Agile Mentors community members, “What’s the biggest agile myth you’ve heard?” and we got some pretty funny responses! Here’s what a few of our members had to say:

Documentation isn’t Agile

An agile coach in India responded, “Documentation isn’t Agile.”

We’ve all heard the response, “We don’t need to document anything—we’re agile!” This is definitely a myth because no one ever said documentation is useless, but rather let’s value conversations first and provide documentation only if and when it’s valuable.

Agile Solves All of Your Problems

A very experienced agile coach and trainer from the United States said his favorite myth is, “Adopting agile will make your development effort faster, cheaper and better.”

Hmm, that really does sound like agile will be the golden ticket to all of your business problems? Those of us who’ve been around the rodeo for awhile know that agile is great at exposing problems that were hiding under a company’s covers for years. While that may not solve every problem, it’s a pretty big win.

Agile Equals Scrum

A US-based Scrum Master added, “Agile = Scrum.”

This is always a point of confusion for newbies, assuming that applying the Scrum framework will make you agile. The Scrum framework is great for applying agility, but they are not one and the same. Agile is an overarching mindset, with agreed upon values and principles, whereas Scrum fits nicely under that umbrella for the day-to-day application of how people work.

Agile is Only for the Team

A Scrum Master from Poland said one common myth he’s encountered, “Agile can be applied on the team level without changing the rest of the organization.”

Yikes, apparently those values and principles don’t apply to managers! As we all know, mindset and culture changes have to be embraced by leadership or agile becomes merely a process change, not a true transformation.

The Product Owner Spoon Feeds Stories to the Team

“The product owner writes the user stories with all of the details and the development team implements them,” added our Poland-based Scrum Master.

Clearly, this team has forgotten about the conversation part of the user story! Or the fact that they need to decide how implementation will happen. This anti-pattern suggests more of a hand-off than a team that collaborates well.

Throw Away the Good Parts of Scrum and Call it Kanban

A product owner from Florida adds, “Throwing away all the good parts of Scrum and calling it Kanban! I'm at a new employer and the team is doing this. They’re not really working in Kanban either—there’s no concept of WIP or throughput, and there’s no understanding of when any particular piece of work might be done.”

Yep, we’ve all seen this one before, where Kanban is reduced to simply having a board with “to do”, “in progress” and “done” columns, stripping away at the real value it provides.

To join the conversation or to laugh along with us at all the things teams say (and a whole lot more), join the Agile Mentors Community. Visit <www.agilementors.com> for more information on membership.

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