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Agile Anti-Patterns

dominguezdaniel profile image Daniel Dominguez ・2 min read

An anti-pattern is a pattern that you think will improve things, but it doesn't. Agile anti-patterns can affect organisations, morale, and quality if left untreated. The critical first step is acknowledging the existence of the pain point. Effective root cause analysis helps to understand what causes the anti-patterns to arise in organisations, where actions can be taken to address those causes.

Agile anti-patterns

  • Production of a product
  • Delivery of a product
  • Quality of a product

Kinds of agile anti-patterns

  • Lack of line of sight to value stream
  • Sense of slow velocity
  • Extraordinary high number of Acceptance Test failures during PO testing
  • Little/no continuous improvement
  • Waterfall mindset/practices still being applied where it’s not appropriate to do so
  • Poor team work
  • Lack of interdisciplinary collaboration when creating artifacts
  • Lack of cross functionality within teams
  • Lack of team autonomy Poor morale
  • Lack of vision
  • Fuzzy Sprint Goals

Anti-patterns prevention

  • Have an open mind and view IT as a core conduit for business/revenue, not just another cost-centre
  • Appoint agile coaches to engage with all strata of the organisation and to find out how things work and don’t work
  • Identify the business’s value streams and restructure the organisation so that each new team/department is aligned to one value stream to which everyone has line of sight
  • Do not appoint people to product owner or scrum master roles just to find a spot for someone to fill.. If they are a good fit, then fine, but if not, don’t do it!
  • Introduce diagonal-line line management so that everyone has someone they can turn to outside the team for non-delivery matters
  • Appoint agile coaches as mentors to every tier of the organisation ensuring all parties meet on a regular basis for help, coaching, mentoring, training and even venting! It’s natural!
  • Regular agile-adoption surveys and feedback loops within teams and to C-Suite


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