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(Un)Broken Agile Practices

The org you start at doesn't follow all the practices that you've learnt in the past or on the web. Does that mean they're wrong or they're broken? Have your tried to figure out why? Humans tend to organize rationally, and hence there is a good chance that they made a group decision to not follow a certain practice.

In one of the orgs I consult at, there are PMs, SMs and the whole menagerie of SCRUM folks. However, the fundamental tenet of SCRUM - sprints have a start and end, which does not change, since they're just a labeled block of time - is never followed. Sprints go on till the release, and a new sprint start date is determined after the release.

It works for the organization because they're output oriented. It's easier to communicate based on the Sprints as milestones. They see sprints as not a time-block, but a delivery block - and they're wise enough to know that delivery might not happen in the promised period.

Is that good? No. But it's not bad… business is happy to manage their internal stakeholders on delivery commitments in this system. It's easier to say, it'll be delivered as part of Sprint X, since that is seen as the lowest abstraction of delivery.

And that is the beauty of product management. The frameworks will come and go - adapting yourself to the new paradigms in the organization you work at, and being flexible enough to get what you need to deliver the right features at the right time within a reasonable timeframe is peak product management.

Stop sweating the processes and make the most out of what you have…

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