Agile Tips: Celebrate success or get pounded by the waterfall (again and again)

A crucial part of driving and sustaining a change towards better adoption of Agile is the opportunity to celebrate success – small wins, frequently. Winning teams have clear expectations, understandable context and the commitment to get the work done-done. Driving point in declaring small wins after each iteration is setting the scope of the iteration close to the actual capacity of the team. If you consistently get burn up charts where the scope undergoes big adjustments downward (red scope line), this is a clear sign that the team committed to more that can be done. Reasons for that can be lack of experience in estimating points, external pressures etc.  A good way to control the scope is to experiment each iteration to committing to a lower/higher number estimated points, so that the scope is with in the 5% margin from the average for the team (green scope line). This can be achieved by controlling external pressures, estimating points as a team rather than individually and actively negotiating with product owner and other stakeholders about what goes in the iteration and what not. 



While dry charts and numbers don’t create great software, they help teams adjust and build up the culture of the motivated successful team.  Step 1 - pick the right size for each bite.