Deadlines in Scrum

Working with Deadlines in an Agile Environment

by Pete R.

Deadlines are a common feature in any work-related environment. Consequently, any member of an Agile team should expect to encounter them in all projects. That said, the deadlines are not too popular with such teams.

Software development teams tend to struggle with this issue quite a lot. However, they can find ways of working on their projects without the deadlines weighing down on them so heavily. Below are different ways of working with deadlines in an Agile environment.

Making the Projects Smaller

Any project can always appear to be quite massive. For this reason, it’s upon you – and your software development team – to know how to approach what’s before you. Nevertheless, some projects are genuinely massive. In such instances, you need to make them smaller.

Large projects are also: - More complex - More unpredictable - Much harder because of the increasing tons of dependencies

However, it would be great to ensure that your team has enough members first before you break the project down into smaller, more manageable sizes. All the same, even if you’re alone, your task gets much easier if you have smaller tasks to deal with before the deadline elapses.

Change the conversation from deadlines to value

Perhaps, the most relevant job you can do is to convince clients of the importance of value rather than deadlines. Many times, you may be able to deliver the project on time. However, does the client get value for it? For this to work, though, you have to build a value-driven enterprise. Change the culture within your organization, so the focus is on delivering value to all clients. Remind every member of the Agile team of the importance of adhering to this policy.

That stated, the fact that your focus is more on value rather than deadlines doesn’t negate the importance of time. You still need to remember that clients have time concerns. They need their projects completed within a specific period, or else everything becomes unimportant.

Consequently, part of the job of the person leading the Agile team is to strike a balance between deadlines and value. After all, it’s possible to deliver value within the shortest time possible. As you do all that, don’t forget that software development is full of unpredictability.

Bring everybody on board

Software development teams are full of people with different skills. Some of the members are experts in coding and programming. Others specialize in object-oriented designs. Similarly, you will find many who are highly effective at testing and debugging software.

As the leader, your role would be to find ways of harnessing all these skills and using them for the common good. To do this, you would need to convince all members that they are part of a larger picture. Make sure that everyone is on the same page before the project kicks off!

It’s worth noting that a good team doesn’t just emerge out of the blues. Instead, it takes work and a deliberate effort to create such a group. One way of enabling every member of this team to work cohesively is by empowering each of them. Additionally, you should also:

  • Constantly reminding every member of their roles
  • Giving each member increasing visibility
  • Identifying and destroying the barriers preventing members from coming up with solutions
  • Encouraging members to know and support each other’s tasks

Understanding the factors that affect deadlines

Deadlines aren’t simple matters to understand in the world of software development. After all, deadlines are not independent of everything else that goes on within the Agile team. For the most part, deadlines are subject to the following factors:

  • Prevailing conditions in the market
  • End-users feedback
  • Impact of competitors’ strategies
  • Levels of risks
  • Changes in budget

Now, it’s essential to work with deadlines. Otherwise, you run the risk of taking forever on a single project, which could be a huge inconvenience to your clients. Nevertheless, it’s important to make clients appreciate the fact that your team isn’t entirely in control of all that happens.

As shown above, some circumstances are beyond your control. For example, you might have started working on the project only to realize that the management has cut some of your financings. Additionally, your competitors’ strategies could affect your work adversely.

Place more emphasis on the important stuff

Software development teams are full of humans with unique behaviors and needs. For this reason, they are a bit unpredictable in terms of what each person could opt to do at any given moment. Many times, you will encounter members who appear distracted.

As the group leader, part of your duty includes helping members overcome distractions. More significantly, you also have to find ways of encouraging them to put more focus on the essential stuff. In this regard, don’t hesitate to push them away from non-important tasks.

Mainly, you might discover that focusing on the important stuff isn’t everything. In such cases, you may want to motivate the members to do the crucial tasks properly. Otherwise, your efforts might fail to produce the desired results!

Lastly, remember that deadlines are simple, objective, and visible. Additionally, they don’t change the meaning. Nevertheless, it’s good to understand that deadlines aren’t set in stone. You could always renegotiate them with clients, management, or amongst yourselves too.

All the same, do whatever it takes to submit your software development projects to clients on time. More crucially, let clients understand that your focus is more on delivering value for money rather than adhering to time constraints, which are often unpredictable!


T-Shirt Size Estimation

T-Shirt Size Estimation

T-shirt sizing is a technique through which relative sizing is practiced. Through comparison of stories, one can break them down into buckets of an extra-large, large, medium, small, and extra-small....

by Pete R.
What Kind of Leadership Attributes Is Most Important for Effecting Agile Cultural Change

What Kind of Leadership Attributes Is Most Important for Effecting Agile Cultural Change

The Agile Leader is responsible for helping solve complex issues in an uncertain and rapidly changing environment. Agile Cultural Change involves Agile Transformation, which is a process through which...

by Pete R.
Skills for Successful Leaders in an Agile Environment

Skills for Successful Leaders in an Agile Environment

Successful leaders in Agile environments don’t just happen! Instead, such leaders follow the tried and proven paths to the positions they find themselves in. Most importantly, they know how to lead...

by Pete R.
Working with Deadlines in an Agile Environment

Working with Deadlines in an Agile Environment

Deadlines are a common feature in any work-related environment. Consequently, any member of an Agile team should expect to encounter them in all projects. That said, the deadlines are not too popular...

by Pete R.
Top Interview Questions for a Scrum-Master

Top Interview Questions for a Scrum-Master

It's good to know how to prepare yourself for interview questions for the position of scrum-master. Such knowledge is essential for anyone who wants to work for some of the prime companies in the...

by Pete R.
How to deal with compromises when implementing Scrum?

How to deal with compromises when implementing Scrum?

Using scrum can actually be the best decision which you could make for the organization as it has many advantages for everyone. It is a practical framework which guides you about all the things you...

by Pete R.
Ensure quality in your user stories - the INVEST-Principle

Ensure quality in your user stories - the INVEST-Principle

The INVEST principle allows teams to work effectively on a good user story. To understand INVEST better, one has first to understand what the mnemonic stands for.

by Pete R.
Estimation in the agile world done right! How to play Planning Poker®?

Estimation in the agile world done right! How to play Planning Poker®?

Planning Poker® is one of the tools used in Agile. The reason why it is useful is that it helps the team, decide how many of the points are allocated to a specific story or task. It helps mitigate...

by Pete R.
5 Tips for Dealing with Uncooperative Team Members in Scrum

5 Tips for Dealing with Uncooperative Team Members in Scrum

It is normal to come across people at the workplace that can make your job more complicated than it actually has to be. These kinds of people are disrespectful, harmful or merely unwilling to behave...

by Pete R.
Does Scrum Alone Stand for Agile?

Does Scrum Alone Stand for Agile?

Is Scrum the only technique in Agile? Many people consider Scrum a single method of Agile. Long gone are days when Scrum and Agile were used interchangeably. Nowadays, many people know about the...

by Pete R.
Changes That Occurs When Moving from Waterfall to Scrum

Changes That Occurs When Moving from Waterfall to Scrum

Are you thinking about the changes that occur when a company shifts of Scrum? In today's advanced world, the previous approaches for software development are unviable. Though waterfall practice is...

by Pete R.
Hey Scrum! Where has the test phase gone?

Hey Scrum! Where has the test phase gone?

If one is looking for a methodology to manage programmers, then scrum is their best bet. If one wants to tests cases, they need to give Scrum a try.

by Pete R.