Agile Abuse – Scenario 7 – We are agile hence lets update the story during run time
 

Neha – Developer 1, Bob – Product Owner, Peter – Agile Coach

Neha – We are always missing acceptance criteria and functional details in a story. It is really tough to commit a story with little or no clarity.

Bob – The Agile lets you evolve the requirements as you move. This is perfectly alright.  I am within the boundary. I will write the acceptance criteria when I get the time.

Peter- The requirements can evolve and that’s an advantage for a customer while stories cannot keep evolving during the sprint.  You have an opportunity to refine the acceptance criteria. If the functional requirements are not clear or acceptance criteria cannot be determined during planning/grooming, the story shouldn’t be committed. It should be moved for a later sprint.

Bob – Can I write the acceptance criteria and later change it altogether during the sprint as we progress?

Peter – No for sure. The change in a story once committed is a “scope creep”. You must move that to the next sprint of post-re-estimation, you might have to remove some other stories out of a sprint. Ideally, you are not allowed to change anything during a sprint. Adding more details to acceptance criteria to make it more clear as you move should be fine, though.

Bob – Fair! I will take out the stories where I don’t have clarity.

Challenge – Writing a one-liner description for a story should be fine and we will keep updating it while working in progress during the sprint. 

Scenario 1 – I leave very early because I finish my work and I pick very less because this is all I can do

Agile Abuse – Scenario 6 – Story point is not about time, not even a range
 

Sumant – Developer 1, Veena – Scrum Master

Veena – Sumant, we are almost at last day of sprint and your 3 pointers are not yet done. Do you see a risk? What is the tentative time you think you would take?

Sumant – I can’t tell you. Agile says that you cannot convert story points to time hence 3 pointers can take 3 days or 3 months. All valid in agile.

Veena – Why do you estimate your stories?

Sumant  – So that we know whether we can do that in our sprint or not.

Veena – And a sprint duration can be 3 months too?

Sumant – Oops, I got it.  My bad!

Challenge – The story point is not about time, not even a range.

 

Scenario 7 – We will unearth the acceptance criteria and requirements for a given story as we continue with development. Writing a one-liner description for a story should be fine and we will keep looking at it while working in progress during the sprint.

Agile Abuse – Scenario 5 – Let’s play with estimation whenever we want
 

Ron – Developer 1, Amy – Scrum Master

Amy – How come we committed 45 story points and we accomplished 51 though I have not added any extra work to sprint.

Ron – The performance improvement story was a little complicated hence I have added 6 additional points to it.

Amy – Once an estimate is done, it is not supposed to change in any case. If so, the whole point of estimation has no value.

Ron – Sorry, I will change that back to original and add the challenges encountered with that story to our process asset library.

Challenge – It is perfectly alright to play with estimation at any point in time.  

Scenario 6 – Story point is not about time, not even a range

Agile Abuse – Scenario 4 – Sprinting means running super fast
 

Paula – Customer, Amy – Manager

Paula – Amy, you mentioned that Agile is supposed to be faster. Why don’t you speed up the work with the same team? Sprint velocity is supposed to improve sprint after sprint and the speed of work should constantly increase.

Amy – Too much speed can affect the quality of work. Agile promotes sustainable development. In a long run, the overall benefit with respect to quality is going to be more compare to quantity in most circumstances while the sprint can run with a pace and all you can expect is better quality sprint after sprint.  100% utilization is an economic disaster.

Paula – OK. Got it.

Challenge – ‘Sprinting’ means running super-fast.

Scenario 5 – It is perfectly alright to play with estimation at any point in time.  

Agile Abuse – Scenario 3 – Converting standup to status meeting
 

Ron – Manager, Amy – Scrum Master

Ron – Amy, why the heck stand-ups are going for an hour every day.

Amy – The team prefers to talk and sort out open items. Although there is some unwanted discussions as well but that is just to keep morale up. It is truly helping us to sort out open items every day.

Ron – There is something wrong here. Are the questions being asked or clarification expected common to all?

Amy – Not really. Once in a while, it is general but typically it’s between two people.  It helps everyone to get the perspective.

Ron – You really need to take those discussions offline. The standup is supposed to end in less than 10 minutes (Worst case 15 minutes) for 10 member team.  You can do planning or grooming once or twice a week but that must have to be a separate meeting and not a standup.

Challenge – A standup cannot be a meeting.

Scenario 4 – ‘Sprinting’ means running super-fast.

Agile Abuse – Scenario 2 – Mixing Pairing and Knowledge Transition
 

Steve – Developer 1, Jeff – Developer 2

Steve (Evening) – Jeff, Can I pair with you on your story?

Jeff – Sure, but I am almost done with my story and moreover I would leave in another hour or so. If you are still interested, please join me.

Next-day – Morning standup

Steve – I worked on adding a comments field to our customer UI and further added that to the database.

Jeff – I paired with Steve. Status – Ditto!!!

Message – I didn’t do anything hence pairing was a saver although it was knowledge transition.

Scenario 3 – A standup cannot be a meeting.

Agile Abuse – Scenario 1 – The fun of committing less than what you can accomplish
 

Kent – Scrum Master, Chris – Sr. Developer

Kent – Why do you work less than half a day?

Chris – I finish all my sprint work, I don’t need to look at time!

Kent – (During Sprint Planning) – I think we can pick more work. Chris, you being a senior developer, what do you say?

Chris – This is all we have been completing consistently in the past. That’s all we can do in a given time hence we should not add more points.

Challenge – I leave very early because I finish my work and I pick very less because this is all I can do.

Scenario 2  – I didn’t do anything hence pairing was a saver although it was knowledge transition.

Abusing Agile – Part 1
 

Disclaimer – There is no intention to hurt anybody. The idea is to pass the learning and a MESSAGE. I have seen Agile getting abused and many times it is visible to the rest of the world except the one who is responsible for it. Click on each scenario to get more details.

Scenario 1 – I leave very early because I finish my work and I pick very less because this is all I can do

Scenario 2  – I didn’t do anything hence pairing was a saver although it was knowledge transition.

Scenario 3 – A standup cannot be a meeting

Scenario 4 – ‘Sprinting’ means running super-fast

Scenario 5 – It is perfectly alright to play with estimation at any point in time.  

Scenario 6 – Story point is not about time, not even a range

Scenario 7 – We will unearth the acceptance criteria and requirements for a given story as we continue with development. Writing a one-liner description for a story should be fine and we will keep looking at it while working in progress during the sprint.