Agile Anti-Pattern: No clue about change.

Pattern Description

Your company follows a very rigid long-running stage-gate process, which takes around two years between first ideation and go-live.

You have three to four releases per year.

You cannot change anything which already passed a gate.

Issue, Problem, Risk

The 1%-requirements creep rule is ignored, thus after 24 months more then a quarter of your project’s results will be wrong.

Root Cause

If you are held responsible for the software design you will insist on getting a frozen requirements specification document.

If you know your failure will be recognized by your peers down the line and reported through the hierarchies – to finally land on your desk again, you become a cautious and fearful person.

Thus, maybe the biggest reason for the absence of a culture for change is silo thinking in combination with well established blaming mechanisms.

Mitigation, Remedy, How to avoid

Reduce fear by establishing a culture for failure and a culture for change.

Establish a culture for change by establishing a change process for all projects. 

Agile embraces change. It is one of the four values of the Agile Manifesto: ‚responding to change‘ and one of its principles is ‚welcome changing requirements, even late in development.‘

Agile thinking requires the working implementation of a concept called ‚feedback loops‘. 

Thus whenever we do something, there should be some kind of planning before we do it (Cf. ‚I guess I’m just a fool, who never looks before he jumps.‘ in ‚Everything happens to me‘ as sung by Chet Baker, in 

And after we did something, there should some kind of check, and some kind of a reaction of what we found out. Other forms of feedback loops:

  • OODA (Observe, Orientate, Decide, Act)
  • PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act/Adjust)
  • PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act)
  • Build, Measure, Learn (Lean Startup)

See e.g.