Agile working practices: The pitfalls
Huge changes in working practices, new expectations, and modern tools are creating problems for agile working evangelists. In part 1 of this post, we take a look at some of the challenges facing agile methods in the modern workplace.
Agile methodologies attempt to promote openness and visibility. But to do so they revolve around task boards and tight feedback loops which often need to be centrally located in physical workspaces.
They need an ability to make fast decisions and iterate. They need a high degree of trust among co-workers to improve team collaboration and enable quick decisions. Documentation is light-weight and things change – so no rigid or traditional process of information-sharing can serve the needs of an agile team.
The product teams become the fundamental units of progress and control. The main role of management to remove road-blockers and set high-level direction. Agile organizations give teams a high degree of power and plenty of space to succeed or fail.
In agile teams, the people closest to the problem make all the decisions. And yes, this sounds ideal. But the same conditions you need to enable people to make decisions can also create limitations.
Remote working and the break up of the physical team
‘This way of working isn’t optimal for everyone’
Performance reviews in agile organizations often focus on team impact which discourages people from spending time on their individual tasks.
There’s often an expectation to empower others, to leverage your teammates and to work towards team goals that are fluid and often loosely defined.
This way of working isn’t optimal for everyone, it can be bad for key individuals in the team, it can hinder collaboration, and it can be bad for business.
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What’s next for agile?
So what does this mean for the workplaces of the future? And how will new collaboration platforms inform the ways that people get work done?
In part 2 of this post, we explore how the changing expectations of people – and the collaboration technologies they use – could help usher in a new golden age of agile working. Read it here.