Avoid these mistakes if you want to be Agile

If you got here, it’s because you want to know what mistakes to avoid if you want to be Agile.

Most companies are nowadays on an Agile transformation journey, and for good reason. Agile has proven to raise companies’ ability to deliver value to clients, and faster.

avoid mistakes agile
Make the small increments of work visible to the client

If you make these mistakes on your journey, however, you will never become Agile! These are critical points which can cause your project to thrive, or to miserably fail.

But do not panic! I will guide you through the main points you need to take into account, and walk with you along the way!

1. Not listening to your customer (with the intention of understanding them)

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is not listening to the customer.

Listening to the customer does not mean hearing what they say they want, but truly trying to understand why they want it.

Customers always know what they want, but they rarely can express the motivation behind it. Here you play a very important role. It is your responsibility to dig deep into each requirement, challenge them, and ultimately understand together with your client the problem to solve.

Always put your customer before the process and you will achieve wonders!

avoid mistakes agile
Meet with your clients

You can start with these small steps:

  • Meet regularly with your client:

If you are reading this, you probably are transitioning to an Agile way of working. And if you are in that process, you most likely are already working on sprints.

You need to make the small increments of work visible to the client! You will need to meet regularly with the customer to update them on the status. Depending on the project, this could mean once a sprint, once a month, etc.

The key here is to show your progress in small but noticeable increments.

  • Give your customer the opportunity to give you feedback:

Review with your customer what went right and what went wrong, what they like and what they need changed. Don’t be afraid to make the necessary changes to get to the best results.

Remember that the idea is to listen to your client and support them throughout the process.

  • React on your customer’s feedback:

Just listening to your customer will not be enough. It is important that you integrate their feedback into the process and adapt your plan. You need to set up a process to integrate this feedback. This means a direct communication channel between your teams and the client, as well as a procedure to make sure your customer’s feedback doesn’t fall through the cracks!

This is also the moment to identify potential bottlenecks in the process and fix them. Being Agile not only means that you adapt your project plan along the way, but also your very working process to make the best use of the lessons learned!

2. Being afraid of failure

This is one of the most important mistakes to avoid if you want to become Agile.

avoid mistakes agile
Don’t be afraid to fail

The whole point of Agile is that you are able to fix problems fast. It is easier to fix one small error at a time, than to try to fix something after it is already finished. It sounds logical but it is not easy to achieve.

Give your team the freedom to try out various ideas. Testing, learning and improving are the foundations of Agile. Giving your teams freedom and having multiple leaders might not come easy, but empowered teams will own the process and give you their best.

Give them the opportunity to experiment, fail and learn, and they will build for you the best process!

3. Adopting generic Agile implementations

What works very well for some companies will not necessarily work for you. Do not rely on generic Agile implementations, always look for someone to guide you regarding your needs as a company.

Start with what you are doing now. Do not plan huge changes to your existing processes right away. Make small, incremental changes, rather than radical ones, and be sure to include all the lessons learned along the way.

And always be willing to challenge yourself. Are you really working at your highest potential?

DOING AGILE is not the same as BEING AGILE.

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