Agile Intentions

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Moving along in the theme of common Agile mistakes, I wanted to address the topic of intentions. If you’ve ever had a child (or been one), it’s easy to picture someone doing something right for the wrong reason or doing something wrong with the right intentions. You might ask “Aidan, how does this apply to Agile and Scrum?” Well, a mistake multiple organizations struggle with is ‘doing’ Scrum but not with the right mindset.


This mistake occurs when we don’t adopt the whole framework. The mindset of Agile is to improve the way we work to make sure that we are both happy and efficient. When we forget the goal behind a framework, then we reduce the effectiveness of the frameworks operations. 


I’ve come into contact with an organization that has the intention to operate using Scrum. They do their Daily Scrum, but they do it as check-in for management. They make sprint goals, but these goals aren’t taken seriously. How can we say we use Scrum if we miss the purpose of the events, and forget to improve? It’s like scolding a dog hours after they chewed your favorite shoe and they have no idea why they are being reprimanded–purpose is lost when the context is forgotten.


On the other hand, there is the mistake of fully trying to operate within Scrum but my actions are not Agile. An example of this is weaponizing metrics (something I mentioned in a previous post). When an organization weaponizes their metrics, they do it in the name of improvement and Scrum, but it harms the team’s efficiency and happiness. This can also look like dieing on the hill that is the Scrum events, when one might not fit with your team or its schedule. When our intentions are stuck in the framework of “doing” agile, instead of “being” agile, it leads to issues within a company.


The goal, and this may take many fixes, is for a team that adapts and operates in their environment. In more studies than I have counted, great accomplishments follow wherever that goal is reached.


We should examine our thoughts and think of ways we can adapt to our environment. We would love to hear from you in the comments below.