Agile vs Fragile: Not a Death March

Part 9 in a series of 17. To start at the beginning, first read Agile vs Fragile: A Disciplined Approach or an Excuse for Chaos.

Agile principle 8 deals with managing a fresh team.  This is one of the most telling characteristics of Agile and Fragile teams.  Agile teams see projects as a marathon made up of individual sprints.  For the team to make a sprint at the expense of the overall marathon is not acceptable.  Agile teams ensure that the amount of work that the team takes on is realistic and paces the effort of the team over the long haul.  To draw a parallel, let’s look at thoroughbred horse racing and the Triple Crown.  The crown is made up of three races; the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes; and the Belmont Stakes.  If your goal is to win the Triple Crown, it doesn’t make much sense to beat your thoroughbred so hard in the first race that it collapses and dies at the finish line.  The same goes for an Agile project.  It doesn’t make sense to push the team so hard to make an individual sprint that you are unable to complete the project. Yet, many Fragile teams do just that. Leadership pushes the team to work long hours and weekends to make timelines, and ultimately destroy the morale of the team.Agile not a death marchThe focus of an Agile team is keeping the team fresh, and pushing forward to the end.  The focus of the Fragile team is to push toward the end of the sprint and worry about the next sprint tomorrow, and so on.  In Fragile teams, the burn down chart really is a burn out chart!

In the next installment of the blog we will talk about the 9th Agile principle. In the meantime…Keep on testing!

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Brian Copeland

About Brian Copeland (19 articles)

With over 25 years of senior level experience in the software development industry specializing in organizational transformation and development, Brian has been instrumental in the testing of critical business systems, from mission critical applications to commercial software. Mr. Copeland’s career has included 10 years as the Test Operations Manager for the Titan II, 34D, IVA, and IVB programs, managing both flight and ground software-testing facilities for Lockheed Martin. Mr. Copeland also served as the Sr. Manager of Quality Assurance for the shared services of Deloitte & Touché, LLP. His diverse experiences range across the aerospace, medical device, title insurance, legal services software, big four accounting firm, and banking industries. Brian led the global testing organization for The Nielsen Company, overseeing the successful transformation of the testing function made up of over 750 testing associates. Mr. Copeland has been a key-note speaker at the International Business Forum, and has been a featured speaker at HP Software Universe. Brian is a past president of the greater Cincinnati International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA), and holds an ITIL v3.0 Foundations and RCV certifications.