Agile is the hot word.

Are you an agile shop?
Do you build agile products?
What’s your burn down?
Who is your scrum master?

If you don’t know what any of these questions mean, this post might not make much sense. But, if you do, then read on because I’ve seen a huge mistake among enterprises implementing “agile” thinking into their product building styles — particularly in mobile. It is important that one learns how to do agile when it comes to building such products.

Agile is not just smaller chunks of waterfall.

You cannot take the same waterfall process and break it into smaller chunks and call it agile.

I’ve seen this over and over and heard people say things like, “yes, we are an agile team now, just let us finish the requirements first.” That is a contradiction.

Agile products are not built with fully established requirements.

Agile is not a more transparent waterfall process.

There is an entirely different mindset running an agile project team — agility. It’s the root of the concept. When the product team discovers something that should change, they have the ability to quickly pivot.

Most product teams I’ve observed have some sort of agile-hybrid PM style.

At the end of the day, teams have a budget and a certain timeline to deliver a certain product.

A purely agile project management style doesn’t seem to work within a large organization — it’s too prickly and undefined. Yet, so many project managers in the Fortune 1000 want to claim to be agile as they operate within predefined timelines, budgets, and requirements.

Really, they are running a more transparent waterfall. This is also a huge mistake and is the reason that internal projects seem to take longer than working with a custom development firm.

Smaller firms can run pure agile processes in order to build an ideal product.

In a purely agile project, features are not defined, but instead user stories are explained and prioritized.

An agile team would operate against this prioritized feature backlog to design and develop as much as possible in a certain period of time. This velocity, or speed of making user stories a reality, is tracked over time and helps create estimated timelines.

The core principles of agile empower the team to change direction and pivot based on priorities identified.

Don’t mistake truncated waterfall for agile. It sets the wrong expectations with the team. If your team needs to learn how to do agile, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with an expert.

This is one part of a series called 9 Mobile Product Building Mistakes.Stay tuned for the next Mobile Product Building Mistake #5: Assuming the backend data is ready for mobile