A Common Agile Failing, and How to Fix it

A common Agile failing is to continuously bump User Stories from one Sprint to the next because there was insufficient time to close them out.

This an unsatisfactory state for an Agile project and can lead Stakeholders to ask questions about why you’re implementing in Agile at all.

There are several ways to fix Agile Creep – here are a few suggestions:

Make sure User Stories are well written, clear, concise and have been elaborated with the help of Stakeholders if required BEFORE THE SPRINT STARTS.

Make sure User Stories have been sized correctly ideally using Fibonacci sizing numbers.

Make sure the Acceptance Criteria are well written, clear, concise have have been agreed with Stakeholders, as above, before the Sprint starts. You don’t want to get to the end of a Sprint and realise, “Oh, you didn’t want this, you wanted that!”. Then bump it to the next Sprint. This is a great way to help Stakeholders lose faith in what you’re doing.

Make sure the right person or people in the Agile Team get the right User Stories. It’s of limited use asking a developer to write a legal document for a 3rd party as is it to ask legal counsel to develop some code (unless your team consists entirely of super-heroes).

Make sure that User Stories which get stuck are discussed in the daily Scrums. This enables the Product Owner and Scrum Master to work out if a User Story is worth parking for now awaiting elaboration e.g. from a Stakeholder or 2rd pty, and if extra bandwidth becomes available in the team to take the next most highly prioritised User Story which makes sense to tackle.

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