15 Mistakes in Agile Methodology & Solutions to Avoid It


Agile methodology is the most efficient project management system for software development. While this method can bring your whole team up to speed, simple mistakes can bring your whole team down just as fast while costing you valuable time and resources.

15 Mistakes In Agile Methodology That Will Cost You

Let’s read up on the 15 most common mistakes many organizations make while implementing agile scrum practices. Make sure you don’t join their ranks as well!

Mistake #1: Daily Scrum Is Agile

Integrating agile practices into your team takes great care and responsibility. You can’t just demand progress out of nowhere by rushing everyone to get things done. One way of doing so is holding scrum meetings daily.

Scrum meetings are great for productivity, but that doesn’t mean holding them daily will bring in any revolutionary change.

Look at it this way: Does attending church more than once make you extra-religious? Or does going to the bar more than once make you drunk? The answer to both is no.

Mistake #2: Thinking The Scrum Master Is The Project Manager

This is a role that people frequently get mixed up, so let’s clear it up first.

A scrum master is like a coach. They know all the ins and outs of all agile practices and do their best to teach agile principles to everyone associated with the project. This can either be a team member, the team leader, or even the product owner.

Agile practices take a lot of coordination to implement, so a scrum master ensures that everyone knows the best agile methodology practices to implement them properly.

A scrum master is just there to facilitate the team with coaching and guidance; they are not necessarily “leading” the team like a product manager. It’s best to let the team decide who will be the scrum master or employ a scrum master who can help the team reach the project goals.

Mistake #3: The Scrum Team Is Too Big

Agile software development teams are supposed to be highly flexible and consist of as few members as possible. Some people think more people can get things done faster, so their team becomes heavier, and productivity decreases further.

When making an agile team, always follow the “Two Pizza Rule” by Jeff Bezos.

“We try to create teams that are no larger than can be fed by two pizzas. We call that the two-pizza team rule.”

-Jeff Bezos

Mistake #4: The Product Backlog Is Wrong

A product backlog can come in different forms. Here, the initial requirement gathering paves the way for everything afterward. If the product backlog is set wrong, everything can fall apart.

If you’re using user stories to create the product backlog, it’s best for the person associated with the customers to create the product backlog.

Mistake #5: There Is No Documentation

I know this point contradicts the agile manifesto, but allow us to elaborate.

The agile manifesto values functionality over comprehensive documentation, but it is for cases when you don’t need to document anything. Any project can get sidetracked without the right documentation that doesn’t contain the source code or notes of other resources.

It can even be severe when working agile. Make sure that you have documentation that follows the rules of agile practices.

Mistake #6: There Is No Scrum Master, To Begin With

A scrum master may not be the team leader, but that role needs to exist within an agile team because an orchestra cannot produce music without the conductor.

Most companies don’t hire/ appoint a scrum master based on four different scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: We don’t have a scrum master. Do we even need one?
  • Scenario 2: Our project manager also doubles as a scrum master.
  • Scenario 3: Our product owner also doubles as a scrum master.
  • Scenario 4: We have a team member who does scrum meetings.

All these are just wrong. Without a dedicated scrum master, your project will never get to follow the best agile practices, and the project will lose its purpose.

Mistake #7: The Sprint Isn’t Properly Planned

A sprint is conducted as a short burst of productivity where everything is pre-planned, and each step is calculated. A sprint with no proper planning only serves towards derailing the project, not finishing it.

This can occur if the team is given a vague estimation of the objectives without taking their strengths into action. If you are working as a scrum master, you should let the management know that you will need at least 2-3 sprints to understand how the team works in tandem.

Once the testing sprints are made, identify the strengths and weaknesses of each team and continue working on the project with further sprint planning. Each upcoming sprint should be planned the same way.

Mistake #8: Micromanagement Is How Agile Works

Some organizations think that micromanagement is key. They claim it to be “their style of agile” while dictating the team and creating obstacles every step of the way. This is not true Agile at all, and one of the many Agile mistakes made.

A winning agile team will always shine when left to their own devices with proper instructions. Micromanagement only crushes the team morale and derails the project.

Mistake #9: The Milestone Isn’t Clear

Many agile team leaders think there is no clear goal to set up in agile development; you just make things up as you go along. Which, of course, is wrong.

Without a clear milestone, the team will not know the efficient path, and the development can take longer.

Mistake #10: Obsession With Tools

Agile project management tools are there to support the agile infrastructure. But obsessing over the tools will not get anyone any further. The tools promote agile communication practices, but these tools are only as good as the users.

It can do more harm than good if you are constantly stressing over posting everything over the tools without getting actual work done.

Mistake #11: The Process Gets More Importance Than The Outcome

A team leader can easily get carried away while implementing agile and put in a lot of extra processes in the development cycle that will only slow down the project.

Also, sweating over processes more than the outcomes directly contradicts the Agile manifesto. It’s about the best results, not doing many different things to make it look more formal.

Mistake #12: Tests Can Be Done By Rushing

Agile is about speed, yes. But it’s also about quality. While performing operations swiftly, an agile team must remember to test the product. Offering a quality product is an agile team’s priority. So there’s no way to rush testing of the product.

A test can reveal all the flaws of the developed product, and the team can perform additional sprints to fix said issues. But if the team rushes through the testing phase, it will damage the quality of the product and, in turn, the organization’s reputation.

Mistake #13: Poor Team Communication

Communication is one of the foundations of a successful agile team. If a team doesn’t communicate properly, or it is working in an isolated corporate environment in the name of “fewer distractions,” it defeats the purpose of agile.

Poor team communication and lack of employee engagement lead to the team falling out of sync, and all the agility of the agile software development process goes out the window.

Mistake #14: Not Acting On Customer Feedback

Customer feedback is the most important resource any team can ever ask for. The agile methodology requires the direct involvement of customers, and user feedback can shape the future of a product being developed with agile practices.

Without checking customer feedback, there is no way to tell if you’re building something that follows the target market’s demands.

Mistake #15: Working On Every Single Feature Request

Features are an inseparable part of any software product. Working on a feature requested by customers is also a great practice. But the problem comes in when you’re trying to work on every feature request to please everyone with a perfect product.

“You can’t please everyone, nor should you seek to, because then you won’t please anyone, least of all yourself.”

-Dylan Moran

When you’re trying to work on all the feature requests at once, the project loses focus, and you end up building features that don’t have any major impact on the overall user experience.

To Wrap It Up

To revise, here are the 15 mistakes in agile methodology people make:

  • Daily Scrum Is Agile
  • Thinking The Scrum Master Is The Project Manager
  • The Scrum Team Is Too Big
  • The Product Backlog Is Wrong
  • There Is No Documentation
  • There Is No Scrum Master, To Begin With
  • The Sprint Isn’t Properly Planned
  • Micromanagement Is How Agile Works
  • The Milestone Isn’t Clear
  • Obsession With Tools
  • The Process Gets More Importance Than The Outcome
  • Tests Can Be Done By Rushing
  • Poor Team Communication
  • Not Acting On Customer Feedback
  • Working On Every Single Feature Request

Want to work with an Agile team without making these common Agile mistakes? Why not collaborate with Impala Intech?

What is an “agile sprint”?

An agile sprint session is where the entire team works on a certain objective within a short time with the most efficiency possible.

What is the ideal size of an agile team?

An agile team should have 6-7 members, excluding the scrum master, team leader, and product owner.

What role does a scrum master fulfill in an agile team?

The scrum master coaches everyone, including the team leader and the product owner, about the best agile practices so the team can adopt them swiftly.

Are documentations important in agile development?

It depends on the situation. If the development method itself doesn’t require any documentation, then there’s no need for it. Otherwise, maintaining documentation is a good practice so the team has a better idea of the project.

How many feature requests should the software development work on?

The development team should work on the features most users are looking for and features that can positively impact customer experiences.


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