It may come as a shock, but there are agile weaknesses.  These are situations where a different approach brings a lower risk.  These weaknesses also point to the strengths and attributes of a project or team that make agile the best choice for our framework.  None of these are set in stone.  Thus, knowing about the weakness is an opportunity for overcoming it.

The Team Is Central

Most of the Agile weaknesses center around the team and their ability to follow through on the principles or values.  The most essential of these is the ability of the team to handle cross-functional tasks.  It requires developers in the dev team rather than just several coders.  We ask team members to understand and perform duties outside of their strengths.  This ask includes requirements gathering, design, and quality assurance that is not comfortable for most junior staff.

ecommended solution for inexperienced teams.  It asks too much of them.

Constant Communication

The rise of remote work as a viable solution to more projects has its pros and cons.  In the agile world, this can make success more or less likely.  There is an underlying theme of steady communication that the principles require.  A remote team can achieve this.  However, the lack of face-to-face interaction can cause problems.  Team members may work different schedules or have technology issues like internet connectivity problems or personal challenges like loud children.  These obstacles can be managed to some extent.  Nevertheless, they can also cause stress on the team that makes the sprints fall apart due to too many unforeseen setbacks.

What To Do

A team or project that suffers from agile weaknesses has two options.  They can embrace agile and find ways to offset the shortcomings, or they can choose another framework.  For those that want to adopt agile, consider these steps.

  • Simplify and standardize communication where possible
  • Set up alternate communication methods before they are needed. (phone, email, and chat options for example)
  • Emphasize team building and teamwork
  • Adjust time buffer and estimates to minimize the impact of weaknesses
  • Push cross-training early and often.  Build the team skills that will improve the odds for success

These are just a few steps to take.  However, they can make a big difference in how smooth a project runs (or not).

Learn More About Scrum

Challenge of The Week: How well does your team fit the Agile process?


Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a longtime student of technology as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is a founder and principle of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although a few have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax.

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