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Troubleshooting Agile

Finding and fixing the most common problems with Agile teams

Andrew Stellman

The Agile methodology is popular because many teams that have “gone Agile” report great results: they build better software, work together better, satisfy their users, and do it all in a much more relaxed and enjoyable working environment. But while some teams have made great progress, others have not been as successful implementing Agile in their organizations. Although these teams may have made some improvements in how they run their projects—enough to make the effort to adopt Agile worth it—they haven’t seen the substantial changes that they expected from going Agile.

In this three-hour hands-on training, Andrew Stellman helps teams troubleshoot their Agile implementations. You'll learn how a fractured perspective leads to the most common Agile anti-pattern—better-than-not-doing-it results—and how self-organization and collective commitment help achieve better outcomes. You'll also gain practical experience with tools that you can use to address other common anti-patterns and improve your team.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • How an Agile mindset can make the difference between better-than-not-doing-it results and astonishing results
  • The kinds of cultural problems that significantly affect Agile teams
  • What it really means for Scrum teams to be self-organizing and make collective commitments

And you’ll be able to:

  • Apply the Agile Manifesto to your team's day-to-day work in a way that makes a real difference
  • Diagnose and begin to fix mismatches between your team's mindset and Scrum values
  • Identify and troubleshoot the most common anti-patterns that plague Agile teams

This training course is for you because...

  • You're a software team member with some experience with Agile, but your team is frustrated and not meeting their full potential, and you want to see some real improvement.
  • You are a team lead or project manager on an Agile team who knows you can get a lot more out of your team, but you aren’t quite sure how to get there.


  • Professional experience on a software team
  • A working knowledge of Scrum, XP, Scrum/XP Hybrid, Lean/Kanban, SAFe, or another Agile method or methodology (useful but not required)

Recommended preparation:

"What Is Agile?: Principles and Practices" and "Agile Values and Principles: Mindset Meets Method," Head First Agile (book chapters)

"The Agile Coach," Learning Agile (book chapter)

Making Change Possible,” Peopleware (book chapter)

Agile for Everybody—Moving On from Legacy Thinking (video)

About your instructor

  • Andrew Stellman is a developer, architect, speaker, agile coach, project manager, and expert in building better software. Andrew is an author and international speaker, with top-selling books in software development and project management, and world-recognized expert in transforming and improving software organizations, teams, and code. He has architected and built large-scale software systems, managed large international software teams, and consulted for companies, schools, and corporations, including Microsoft, the National Bureau of Economic Research, Bank of America, Notre Dame, and MIT. He's had the privilege of working with some pretty amazing programmers during that time, and likes to think that he's learned a few things from them.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Part 1: Troubleshooting Scrum and Agile project management

A minute to learn, a lifetime to master” (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: The challenge of “going through the motions” of Agile and Scrum and some solutions
  • Hands-on exercise:

Really “getting” Scrum (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: The importance of self-organization and collective commitment; how problems with them can affect the entire Scrum implementation
  • Hands-on exercise:

Q&A (10 minutes)

Break (10 minutes)

Part 2: Fractured perspective and an Agile mindset

Why Agile adoptions fail (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: The reasons why Agile adoptions fail
  • Hands-on exercise:

Understanding the elephant and “better-than-not-doing-it” results (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: Fundamental ideas behind Agile; why Agile is both a set of practices and a mindset; the Agile Manifesto; achieving more than just better-than-not-doing-it results
  • Hands-on exercise:

Q&A (10 minutes)

Break (10 minutes)

Part 3: Agile anti-patterns

Scrum and project management anti-patterns (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: Anti-pattern basic concepts; anti-patterns that impact project management generally and Scrum in particular
  • Hands-on exercise:

Anti-patterns in other methods (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: A high-level overview of other Agile methods and methodologies (XP and Lean/Kanban); common anti-patterns for each; why solutions often have to be both technical and team oriented
  • Hands-on exercise: Affinity diagramming exercise to review troubleshooting and improvement concepts

Wrap-up and Q&A (20 minutes)