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The Seven Deadly Sins of Agile: Gluttony

October 13, 2023

When we talk about agile teams, we often imagine streamlined processes and efficient workflows. However, many teams fall into the trap of gluttony, leading to bloated Backlogs and Products. A common sign is a team with a Product Backlog containing thousands of items. Such a backlog becomes unwieldy, making it challenging for the team to identify and focus on delivering value.

Another manifestation of this sin is during Sprint Planning. Teams often cram more tasks into the Sprint Backlog than they can realistically deliver. This overcommitment results in items spilling over to the next Sprint, creating a continuous cycle of overburdening. 

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The Standish group's chaos report highlighted a startling fact: only 35% of the features we develop are used by our customers. The rest, a whopping 65%, are seldom, if ever, used. This begs the question: why are we investing so much time and resources into features that don't bring value? 

I recall working with a bank in Boston that believed they were the exception to this statistic. They were confident that they knew their customers' needs better than anyone else. However, after analysing their flagship product with application insights, we found that only 7.5% of their features were actively used by their customers. The majority of their investment was going into features that were essentially redundant.

It's essential to be discerning about what we choose to work on. Just as one wouldn't order a full plate of haggis without first trying a small portion, we shouldn't dive headfirst into developing a feature without validating its value. 

NKDAgility can help!

If you find it hard to manage your product backlog or struggle to prioritise features effectively, my team at NKDAgility can assist. We can guide you or help you find a consultant, coach, or trainer who can. 

If issues are undermining the effectiveness of your value delivery, don't delay in seeking assistance. 

You can request a free consultation with my team or sign up for one of our upcoming professional Scrum classes. Because you don't just need agility, you need Naked Agility.

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