Theory Behind Avoiding Agile Failure Patterns - The Agile Webinar

January 14th, 2020 by inflectra

In the following article, Sriram Rajagopalan - Inflectra's Enterprise Agile Champion breaks down the patterns we all should avoid in agile ceremonies. 

This blog complements Inflectra's January 9th webinar on the same topic, with the webinar recording available inside.

Agile is no Panacea

Researching the concepts of the waterfall as a framework for software development (Rajagopalan, 2014), I noticed that the original proposal by Winston Royce did not promote any concept of linear or sequential approach for software development. However, practitioners jumped too quickly forming the waterfall approach and later attributing its failure based on theory. Nevertheless, if waterfall existed in practitioners’ minds, then the agile framework also can fail if we have not yet learned from implementing waterfall incorrectly.


We have emphasized in the previous webinar blogs the increasing adoption of the agile framework. The latest 13th state of agile survey underscored that the top five agile techniques preferred globally are rooted in the agile ceremonies. If practitioners fail to understand the practical impediments rooted in the organizational culture, strategic foresight, team coaching, and process sustainability, then, several patterns evolve depending upon the lack of executive commitment, team fragility, process inflammation, and technical myopia. As a result, the failure of agile in any organization should not be attributed to agile framework failure.

Spotting an Agile Misunderstanding

Just like how symptoms manifest as problems requiring root cause analysis, several misunderstandings of the agile framework can be seen. A few coachable moments that I have seen listed below are when leaders or team members make statements that fundamentally identify accidents waiting to happen. Each of these above statements heard in practice is troubling because people practice what they think is agile increasingly adopting behaviors going against recommended practices such as the daily collaboration with business and technical people, self-organization among teams, and technical excellence.

Sow the Success Seeds

The Team is the immediate face of agile implementation. So, when patterns evolve, one has to go a deeper understanding of the root cause of the patterns. Such root cause may not be just in the team but also in the organizational culture. To sow the success seeds for each agile ceremony to flourish promoting agile values, such as transparency, inspection, and adaptation, the challenges have to be looked at both the team level and also at the organizational level. Based on my experience, I see twelve patterns in four categories. These twelve patterns will undoubtedly depreciate the value of each agile ceremony . For a deeper insight into these four categories, the twelve patterns, and the potential antidotes to addressing these patters, please check out the webinar.



Rajagopalan, S. (2014). Review of the myths on original software development model. International Journal of Software Engineering & Applications, 5(6), 103-111.

Theory Behind Avoiding Agile Failure Patterns the agile webinar

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