On Reddit, a user asked why managers turn Agile into a game to avoid the work.
Sadly, you were trapped in that corporate vortex where reality is as scrambled as a locked 70’s cable channel. When leadership gives directions this contradictory, you will only frustrate yourself by trying to convince them of how wrong they are. Sure, you are probably right, but who cares? They have the power. The only accomplishment in telling management that they are wrong is that you’ve provoked defensiveness. And you’ve changed nothing.
I would suggest a more productive approach than telling management that they are wrong: Practice the Agile principles that you advocate — starting with focusing on what is within your control. Agility promotes adapting to outside changes while controlling internal activities.
If you’re familiar with the concept of an MVP (Minimally Viable Product), you’ll see that you can treat Agile practices (i.e. Scrum, Kanban, and others), as an internal MVP. Take Scrum for example. Whether you are working alone or with a team, what really stops you from practicing the Daily Stand-Up? Can’t you define your own Sprints and do Sprint Planning? Can’t you can refine your own practices by running your own Retrospective? Management doesn’t dictate every aspect of your time. How much of your time can you use to make yourself or your team more productive and reliable?
The MVP approach allows you to experiment with different parts of Scrum, and then you add to your practices as you become more productive — assuming you have the discipline necessary to be truly Agile. That is what you want, right?
Focus on what is within your control and build from there. Use the principles listed in the Agile Manifesto to empower yourself rather than complain about management’s lack of understanding. Nowhere does Agile say that you have to be 100% perfect on day one. Just decide on the first step and take it. That is in your control, not management’s.
Read more about managing Agile Teams here.