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Let Your Agile Squads Breathe!!!


Most people are other people,
Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions,
Their lives a mimicry,
Their passions a quotation!!!
                                                  -   Oscar Wilde

Nothing can sum up social life as beautifully as Oscar while did more than a century ago. We emulate similar behaviour at every social construct that we engage in. In our homes, neighbourhoods, offices and relations.

We get influenced, inspired and enchanted by ideas that we naturally connect with. Very few of us tread into a space where we try to understand and empathise with the ideas that are alien for us, and for those who do try, find a unique vantage point to see things clearly and with an appreciation of how ideas can converge into something amazing.

Many of us witnessed the movement of Agile up close and in past 20 years it has become a revolution to move towards, but what I really felt is that there are a lot of facades in the industry and among the practitioners. In sudden surge of Agile adoption, we have started discrediting good solid work down under traditional project management.

Traditional vs Agile

Estimation processes, risk management and, tracking & control metrics of traditional project management carry a lot of value that can be leveraged in the new business models too. Also, many old organizations are built around the foundations of running based on projects model and hence a lot of control structures mimic the same project framework and suggesting that they should take a leap of faith and revise the entire IT organization, its bearings and its workings to Agile is a utopian world that may not be achieved that easily,

scrum fun

We also noticed personally that just by focussing on ceremonies and Agile terminologies, you can’t achieve the true essence of what Agile manifesto tried to convey. Teams follow Scrum to follow daily stand ups, Sprint Retrospectives, Showcases and Sprint planning ceremonies, but what goes in them, how they ought to be conducted and what is the real purpose of having those ceremonies gets lost in translation.

The methodology was named Agile for a reason

The whole idea of adopting Agile framework was to use common sense and it gives a lot of latitude to the Scrum Master and the development team to cover in order to deliver the result. For instance, this is what is mentioned in the actual Scrum Guide, a 17-page document that people swear by when they say they are true Agile coaches or facilitators and would ensure how Scrum should work -

Scrum is not a process, technique, or definitive method. Rather, it is a framework within which you can employ various processes and techniques. Scrum makes clear the relative efficacy of your product management and work techniques so that you can continuously improve the product, the team, and the working environment.

This 17-page guide was co-authored by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland and it clearly puts the emphasis back on opening the playing field for the scrum master and the team to self-organize and find the best way to achieve the product delivery first and then the maturity of the process.

All tools provided in Agile or Scrum are there to boost the delivery and speeding up the maturity, with primary emphasis laid down on transparency. More transparent the indicators, better control there is on the process and the delivery.

When Agile was modelled with this flexibility and focus to assist the Rapid Application development, then why many teams and scrum masters get stuck with the ceremonies and certain indicators with a cult-like fixation. They swear by these ceremonies and smaller things than seeing the bigger picture, putting the entire delivery to a hostage, for example sometimes tools like JIRA, Sharepoints or confluence become bottlenecks to the overall process, rather than being the tools for delivering a great product.


In our humble opinion more the team is being trusted to find the best way for delivering a product better the results would be. Let the team members express themselves freely and give them the breadth to try new ideas with a certain tolerance for failures.


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Shailendra Malik

Shailendra Malik

SVP - Tech Delivery (Data Platform)

DBS Bank

Member since

25 Apr 2016



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