Agile Stress

How to deal with Agile Stress?

Agile teams may feel more susceptible to burnout because they have to produce high-quality deliverables on a consistent basis.

Celebrate small successes often

It’s an early morning as you step into the office, & in 15 minutes, a Standup meeting will occur. Your teammates discuss unsolvable bugs, after which they assign them to you. An additional meeting to discuss tech details happens. Everyone agrees upon a solution by lunch time. You look back to your scrum board and continue working on yesterday’s task(s). A refinement session happens in the afternoon to discuss additional details for n+1 sprint stories, as they need to be completed. Teammates ask you to review their code(s) that will be pushed into today’s QA while a QA member raises a query on your ticket. Your manager asks for a report.

You are stressed out, frustrated, & exhausted. 

Yes, Agile can be stressful really anytime you embrace change and it happens all the time. Within the scrum board,

  • Changes happen due to incorrect estimate(s).
  • Rise and dependencies are not identified during refinement sessions.
  • Engineers sometimes don’t have complete knowledge about the story, so they start assuming what the task is, and then start working while fixing changes as they go.
  • The QA holds the discussion until the development is complete, because the design wasn’t clear.
  • All these factors and more are prone to making you feel stressed.

     But Agile doesn’t need to be stressful!

    Celebrate small successes often. For example:

    • When a small and frequent release happens: enjoy the success.
    • Accept if high priority bugs completely pull the system/revenue down, or otherwise wait for the next sprint (perhaps a max of 10 days wait time) to fix the adversity.
    • Have a clear environment and/or CICD process, otherwise you will waste time and do more stressful work (and no, procrastination isn’t an option).
    • Make sure all the details of the story are captured and planned according to your team’s capacity and/or velocity.
    • Know the members of the team.
    • Ask for help.
    • Identify what work is needed to be done for your team, such as which framework and process is needed. 
    • Timebox all of your team’s events/stories.

    If you love yours work,

    If you enjoy it,

    You’re already a success.

    Retrospective :Understand that retrospective meetings aren’t the only time to discuss ways to improve your team.Speak out loud when you have issues & even when you are just stressed out and frustrated. Deal with it right away. Even if you don’t know how you’ll overcome the stress, talk about your problems openly. After all, as Confucius said, “The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”

    Points to keep in mind:

    • Keeping a running list of which members of the team are facing stress can help identify the source(s) of the pressure.
    • Plan the velocity of the work you will assign to them to be within the team’s capacity, or else you yourself might be the source of their stress. Remember: The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying pebbles.
    • Make sure you have a clean plan at the beginning of the sprint.
    • Do incremental deliveries; don’t bundle everything all together.

    Be a self-organizing team : A self-organizing team is one that does not depend on or wait for a manager to assign work. Instead, these teams find their own work and manage the associated responsibilities and timelines themselves.