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How to solve 90% of your agile teams problems

Focus on your process for understanding requirements. That’s it! We know that’s a big claim. We’ve been coaching agile teams for over 20 years, and this claim holds true for most of the teams we have encountered. Most teams don’t work like a cohesive team. People are specialists and so stick to work in their field of expertise. We rarely see whole teams work together on a story. Most think it’s inefficient as the team could be working on 5 stories simultaneously. However, when you start to change your requirements meetings (also referred to as backlog refinement in Scrum), some things naturally start to happen, and it can solve so many team problems!

Does this apply to your team? Take our quiz to find out if your agile planning and requirement process is helping you or hindering you.

Signs that you could benefit from agile requirements

Here are some of the common problem we see in teams that can be solved by focusing on the requirements and planning process.

  • Often near the end of a sprint the team is confused about the details of the actual requirement and often missing details.
  • Your developers are often working on seperate stories as it’s simpler that way.
  • You have bulky requirements documents or your team thinks that having them will solve their problems.
  • You are not 100% clear on why you are building something, it’s just what you have been asked to build.
  • Scope seems to grow and results in many stories expanding during the sprint and rolling over to later sprints.
  • You have analysts/product people who do the requirements gathering and all the details are seldom spoken about with the whole team.
  • You have a large number of change requests because you never quite deliver what the customer needs.
  • Your backlog has a large (and growing) number of bugs found by testers and users that don’t get fixed.
  • The team often has large stories that don’t or can’t be completed in a sprint.
  • Your agile planning / requirements/ refinement meeting are seen as a waste of time and your team would like less meetings.

Why should we care about agile requirements?

Over a decade of helping teams with agile requirements we have noticed the following benefits:

  • Saving time and money by talking through requirements as a team. When the whole team understands a piece of work and has spoken through some scenarios they understand what is required much better.
  • Make your employees happier and more engaged as your requirements sessions will now be engaging working sessions talking through options, making decisions about solutions, breaking work down and really understanding what needs to happen.
  • Ensure you delight customers by not just building what they asked for, but solving their problems and creating something that adds value for them
  • Improving the team’s delivery by now being able to work on stories together and get high priority work out the door much faster than ever before.

If some of the above ring true for you, try taking our quiz below, we will also send you an email about our agile requirements workshop that you can run with your team and get all these benefits for yourself.