This is a response to a great summary of the recent survey posted here:
1. Time constraints
Get Agile. Release in iterative cycles instead of a monolithic delivery. It allows for better evaluation of progress, forecasting, and customer feedback.
2. Setting a goal and sticking to it
Get Agile. Use cases and user stories are better than “the system shall…” at understanding the true wants and needs. Scrum then makes the entire team focus on a set of those user stories in bite-sized chunks. Then protect your team from distractions like a junk yard dog during their sprint. Changes or additions are fine, but they go in the product backlog for a future sprint, this one is locked down.
3. Budget limitations
Get Agile. When sprints are so well-defined in little chunks, you know exactly what you are going to spend. EVM combined with Agile is a powerful forecasting tool, and new user stories = new scope which you can and should run through a change control process – those changes either don’t change effort or they do – and if they do it’s additional cost or a trade-off with other work.
4. Poor communication among contributors
Get Agile. Daily stand-ups, the formality of sharing and negotiating with stakeholders over what’s highest priority in the product backlog for the next sprint, and user-centric user stories with the “why” built in so you know what “done” looks like – these are some of the ways Agile solves many communication and coordination problems.
5. Organization and coordination
This is a leadership issue. If someone isn’t looking out for the long-term strategy or contract turnover is frequent and disruptive, that must be fixed at the top. No amount of awesome execution is going to compensate for a lack of vision and strategy.