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Deciding to deploy Agile is easy. Doing it isn’t. Even if you know the basics of Agile development – your teams can quickly get frustrated with subpar results, because they aren’t deploying Agile correctly. If you want to see great Agile results, make sure you never hear yourself say one of these five things….

1. “We don’t really need formal training.”
Agile isn’t new anymore. You’ve had some exposure to it. So, do you really need the training and certification? In a word, yes. Either train internal team members to be Scrum Masters or hire consultants to perform the task until your resources are ready. Regardless, you should have at least one team member trained as a Scrum Master.

Agile is a simple concept – but you’ve got to know all the best practices and how to apply them in different situations. That’s why Scrum training and certification are a big part of the Agile manifesto. Don’t stop with certification for Scrum Masters. Agile training for Product Owners and Developers will keep everyone on the same page and ensure better outcomes.

2. “Our Scrum Master can be our Agile coach.”
“I don’t need a coach,” you may think, “I already have a Scrum Master!” Right? Wrong. Someone can be a very capable Scrum Master, but a lousy coach. It’s just like sports – being an All-Star athlete doesn’t automatically make you a great coach. Playing and coaching require very different skill sets.

Agile coaches are worth the investment. They can save you hours and hours of unproductive work. A good coach will have seen it all before. They know where the pitfalls are. How to train teams. How to get you up and running quickly.

3. “We have pretty good buy-in from the product owner.”
“Pretty good buy-in” isn’t good enough. Agile requires 100% buy-in from the ground up for everyone on the team. This is especially important – but not always easy to get – from the product owner. Unless the business owner is intimately involved with the project, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment and unnecessary rework. His or her daily participation in Scrum meetings is not optional. If product owners aren’t standing up with the team at the daily Scrum, they should at least be present by video or phone.

4. “We’re choosing tools based on best price.”
From Scrumwise to Version One, there are a plethora of tools to manage your Agile project. When choosing the right tool for you, think first about which ones will integrate seamlessly. THEN think about cost. The cheapest tool on the block can often be more expensive to integrate with your existing systems. The most expensive, on the other hand, may also cost you more time and money during integration.

Ultimately, you should select a set of tools that automates your Agile workflow, improves collaboration, and provides an accurate picture of your progress and status.

5. “We’re planning on two-week sprints, starting from day one.”
In an Agile environment, 20 points of work are generally assigned every two weeks – so what could possibly be wrong with two-week sprints? They’re unrealistic when you’re first getting started. In reality, a four-week sprint is more reasonable at the outset of a new project or if your team is new to Agile. Give yourself time to get a cadence going. Then, you can transition to two-week sprints.

By Randall McCroskey August 29, 2014
Tags: EnterpriseIndependent Software VendorIndustriesMobileQuality Assurance