Back to all Articles

Agile That Sucks!

Stacey Ackerman

We always talk about the right way to be agile and how to best apply frameworks and practices. Well, the Agile Mentors Community decided to have a little fun and commensurate together on agile that sucks. We got to vent a bit and hear some pretty absurd and hilarious stories.

Here are some of the highlights when we asked the question, “What’s the worst agile practice you’ve seen?”

The Estimation Bully

A portfolio manager from New Jersey shared his story about the estimation bully. “I had a lead developer on one of my past teams that would try and influence others on what the estimates should be. If he didn’t agree, he’d continually badger them via Slack to agree with him. And most of his estimates would only be right if he did the work and wrong almost 100 percent of the time when someone else did,” he said.

The Controlling Manager

A Scrum Master from England shared his story on the overly-controlling manager. “A manager who knew ‘agile’ said that he wanted to know what task each team member was allocated to for every hour of every day. Thankfully I eventually managed to steer him away from that and the impact it would have had on the team,” he said.

The Velocity Schmooze

An agile coach from Texas worked with another agile coach who went crazy with velocity metrics. “I have this one coach who openly brags all the way up to the tippy top of the corporate ladder how many story points ‘they’ completed within a quarter. She sums up all the teams within her reach, and presents the number. Just the number. Like ‘8,972 points this quarter (6 iterations) across 30 teams,” she said.

Waterfalling Through Agile

A London-based agile coach had to deal with a project manager who inserted agile into the waterfall. This person stated, ““We do design and architecture up front, then we do agile, then we test it and release it.” Oy!

The Oversharers on Social Media

A Scotland-based agile coach described his group of coaches that liked to brag a little too much on LinkedIn. He described how his agile coaches work with leaders in the ‘Innovation Hub’ and post pictures on LinkedIn every time they have a session with a team in front of a wall full of sticky notes. #oversharers

The Olympic Medal System

An agile coach from Rhode Island worked at a company that rated teams’ agility using Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. This seemed to work well, until someone skewed the metrics. “At some point without telling the coaches, the percentage of platinum teams was added to the Senior Managers metrics. This caused lots of heated conversations and overrode any benefit from using the model.”

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 for more information on membership.

Do you have the advantage of being an Agile Mentor?

Network with more than 2,330 members and get exclusive insights on the agile strategies that are working today. Get direct help from Mike in monthly video Q&A sessions. Be mentored by agile experts and share your experience to mentor others, only when you join the Agile Mentors Community.