Opening Remarks: This article is the synthesis of our experience as Agile coaches and data gathered from Agile practitioners in our network. We do not have the presumption to cover every aspect of Agile complexity. We are gladfully welcoming feedback to start a conversation on any aspects that might spark your interest. 

Introduction on hands-on guide to avoid pitfalls in executing an Agile project
Pitfall #1: Losing faith in the team
Pitfall #2: Confusing agile and disorganization
Pitfall #3: Hiding yourself in the basement
Pitfall #4: Underestimating planning value

Pitfall #5: Not getting out of your Agile bubble 

In a non-Agile operating model, you have a complex network of day to day dependencies. Several types of dependency are inherent to non-Agile environments, including: 

  • Task coordination across teams working on the multiple systems that combine to make a product 

  • Clarifications or changes made to requirements by stakeholders representing business or customer needs 

  • Managerial approvals and task delegation from managers to teams 

  • Knowledge or capacity from experts in specialized domains (e.g. security, database administration, release management) 

In an Agile operating model, some of these team-level dependencies break away, but dependencies remain beyond the team level. Dependencies still exist through: 

  • Transversal teams working for several product teams (e.g. data governance, infrastructure, release management, change management) 

  • Shared environments (e.g. development, testing) where changes to a system can affect multiple other systems or products 

In an environment where each team is empowered to make its own decisions, it is important to set up enablers that promote coordination and prevent teams losing focus on the common enterprise vision and priorities. Our experience shows that following pitfalls need to be solved in Agile – Non-Agile contexts to improve delivery performance: 

Exhibit 1: Pitfalls to be solved when managing dependencies between teams 

That is why we should pay attention from the very beginning of program scoping to the interactions between all engaged teams. We believe that 3 events are to be considered




Teams within a product 

Scrum of Scrums 

Product Owner, Scrum Masters and Solution Architects coordinate activities on related features and stories, resolve dependencies, and synchronize deliverables 

Within portfolio 

Portfolio Sync 

Product Owners meet regularly to update synchronized product roadmaps 

Product Owners and Solution Architects map dependencies across products and agree on resolution measures 

Business stakeholders helps resolve conflicts as needed within the portfolio 

Cross portfolio  

Big Room Planning 

For high-complexity deliverables that have many dependencies across portfolios and teams, Business stakeholders, Product Teams and Non-Agile transversal teams meet to identify integration points, map out dependencies and identify target dates for deliverables 

This article is part of a series of articles on Agile pitfalls and tips to avoid them. You will find the complete series here addressing People, Processes and Technology. 

Are you interested to work on Agile projects and support our clients in their digital transformation? We are hiring: check our job offer!


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