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12 Failure Modes – Jean Tabaka keynote at Agile Australia 2009

Here are some of my notes around the keynote at this years Agile Australia 2009 conference. The video of this is available here http://vimeo.com/7160163.

Note: the items below are failure modes, the comments under each item are
around things that need to be looked at to prevent them

  1. checkbook commitments
    1. need engagement
    2. takes time
    3. will requre organisational changes
    4. different metrics
  2. follow the plan
    1. ask team what are best practices
    2. knowledge creating companie
    3. PMO should not be enforcers but enablers
  3. Ineffective use of retrospection
    1. have them
    2. don’t ignore ideas
    3. take action
  4. Ignore need for infrastructure
  5. lack of full planing participation
    1. may look too expensive to get everyone together
    2. keep everyone involved and engaged
    3. need right people to get commitment
    4. waiting for decisions (because people are not around) is a waste.
    5. Must have everyone around.
    6. full team in room brings about more insight!
    7. have had up to 100 people in a 2 day startup
    8. Unavailable product owner OR too many product owners
      1. have commitment with team
      2. multiple stakeholders are ok
    9. bad scrum masters
      1. master of process
      2. NOT! command and control
      3. they are facilitators
      4. command & control lowers peoples morale and IQ (there is a study to prove this)
    10. not have agile evangalist on location
      1. especially for distributed teams
    11. team lacking authority
      1. team needs to have control of destiny
    12. testing not pulled forward
      1. testing culture
      2. invest in infrastructure (One example where Dev/QA/CI/Perf environments cost over $2M)
      3. don’t try to push code (in the aim to optimise developer utilisation)
    13. performance appraisals
      1. do 360 degree feedbach
      2. ask “how are you as an individuall working in a team”
      3. ask “what did you do to imporve the team?”
    14. reverting to form
      1. change is hard
      2. revert to waterfall

    Call to action:

    • choose one of these failure modes
    • create an action plan for your own team
    • do a self retrospective in 30 days to see how you went


    • do self appraisals and hold people to what they can bring to the team

    When to give up (on agile):

    • do a 6 month retrospective
    • give yourself 2 years to scale

    Tech lead and scrum master

    • enable team
    • take self ego and turn it to how great your team is
    • otherwise what are you not doing for the team?
    1. August 29th, 2011 at 05:30 | #1

      None can doubt the vecraity of this article.

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