Oh no! I sense another doomed “agile” implementation.

I was chatting with a friend last night. He told me a lot of his colleagues were being sent on agile training, and they were coming back talking about delivering faster because they show regularly.

My friend described their current process (before this training) as written: they have large projects, but they do the detailed design and development in two-week chunks of work, which gets reviewed on those two-week chunks. Sounds pretty agile to me even if they’re not going as far as deployment.

The catch is, the managers tell them they don’t have time for the reviews because they’ve got to cut schedules, so their work ends up monolithic.

Now I don’t know the inside story, and my friend hasn’t been sent on the course himself. Maybe this time they really will achieve a culture change and do the development in small chunks. But it seems unlikely…

Follow-up: I’ve just discovered this post on the Sphere of Influence blog, also called Agilewashing. It puts it very well:

If a team implements Agile without Continuous Automated Testing or Lean Zero-Defect production then the promised gains become unrealistic. Many great Agile projects are Scrum, but Scrum does not make a great Agile project.

What to do? We recommend doing the hard stuff first. Start with a full-up Continuous Automated Test environment that connects directly to a Lean Zero-Defect production process. If you start there and never get around to playing “planning poker” then you are far better off than those who started with planning poker but never quite pulled together a modern end-to-end TDD practice.

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