Why Your Agile Team Needs to Slow Down in Order to Speed Up
When your team is transitioning from a traditional methodology to an agile one, it’s often for the sake of speed. Adaptive planning, earlier delivery, continuous improvement, and more integrated teams are all meant to generate more rapid, flexible response to change.
But being agile isn’t all about being fast. In order to properly adopt agile and reap its intended benefits, sometimes you just need to slow down.
If you find yourself rushing through development or accelerating your testing process to a speed that’s not conducive to the nature of your software or project, it might be time to take a step back, examine your methods, and find a new solution.
It can take years to properly implement agile not only within your individual team, but throughout an entire company. And while the benefits might be grand—and the end goal is for projects to run more smoothly and teams to be more synchronized—the journey there might require you to take your foot off the gas to better comprehend the tasks at hand.
You need to slow down before you can speed up. There are real, difficult growing pains that go along with agile. There will be a time during the process when production will peak, but also know that it will plateau. Even if you foresee these swings, it can still be frustrating to see delivery slow.
But that’s OK. It’s part of the progression, actually. Members of the team need to learn the process, get to know the group’s strengths and weaknesses, adapt to the early unpredictable release cycles, and adjust to the new deadlines. If agile was easy from the get-go, we wouldn’t need agile coaches to help make the whole process run.
Slowing down is a necessary step that must be taken on the road to agile, but once you do adapt and find your groove, you might run into roadblocks that slow your team down in a bad way. The inability to juggle changing priorities, poor defect backlog management, and communication gaps can all gum up the works without actually sharpening your agile skills, so it’s important to differentiate the good slowdown from the bad.
Still, it’s critical to take time to evaluate your situation and take a breather before you run a team into the dirt. Yes, your goal is to have a fast, efficient, smooth agile process and organization. However, sometimes you need to pull over to the side of the road to change a tire or check your engine before you can properly pick up speed and enjoy a smooth ride.