Unless these three things exist, your organization will always struggle to adopt agile.

WRITTEN BY Tim Zack

Backlogs, Teams, and Working Tested Software are the fundamental preconditions that must exist for an organization to be able to do agile well. In agile these three things have very specific meanings. Compromising on the quality of the backlog, the completeness of the team or the definition of working tested software always decreases agility.

Backlogs

Most organizations underestimate the amount of time and energy it takes to create backlogs with the needed level of granularity.

  • User stories written in a consistent format
  • 1-3 days in size
  • Agreement on method of collaboration

Teams

Teams that don’t stay together and aren’t able to get to a definition of done stop believing they can and will never stabilize velocity.

  • 6-8 People
  • Work together side by side
  • Swarm to develop solutions
  • Has the ability to produce what is in the backlog.

Working Tested Software

  • Have to know what done looks like
  • Need to be able to get to done by the end of the sprint.
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2 comments on “Unless these three things exist, your organization will always struggle to adopt agile.”

  1. Evan

    I mostly agree with this list. However, our team is struggling due to executive leadership and a Scrum Master​ who is unable to control their influence. Goes back to the Scrum Master but his fear to push back is impeding our success.

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  2. Conrad

    Also agree here – the central idea of the team becoming more confident when it is responsible for the right “externalites” .
    Since defects are an inflow competing for backlog time, any real-world facing team that deals with the externality of a customer raised “urgent requirement-change” has to have the power to plan that kind of work without having to go into bug-fix mode. So bugs don’t get tracked as velocity, but still impacts it. The team needs to thus communicate very well. Very well.

    Reply