Agile Methodology Fallacies

Think your team can deliver products faster using Agile methodologies? It’s possible but Agile is not about delivery pace.

In my opinion, there is strong misalignment of expectations between IT and Business teams with respect to the promise of Agile, and what value means. I also believe that there is a distinct difference in delivering new products and updating legacy products when using Agile.

Agile Expectations

The Agile Methodology embraces experimentation, feedback, and collaboration to deliver products. When your enterprise considers using Agile, keep in mind that:

  • Agile is not about delivery speed rather it is about speed of learning. Rapid learning helps a project team build the right product.
  • Story Cards are not Agile rather they help project teams be agile.
  • Story Card completion rate is not Agile because it does not capture the learning and feedback needed to be agile.
  • Clarity of what to build must be shared and understood by everyone.
  • Daily participation of IT and Business is vital for the success of product development.

Agile Value

For each organization, there is a perspective on value. IT sees value in the completion of component parts during the project life. Business sees value when the product produces business value.

When your enterprise considers adopting an Agile methodology, consider what speed and value mean to each organization. Establishing an understanding for the enterprise creates a collaborative foundation for Agile projects.

New Product vs Legacy Updates

In my opinion, the adoption of Agile for use in updating Legacy products is like the story of Cinderella: everything seems good at the Ball but reality is different. Why is this? I believe it is because of dependencies.

When defining a change for a legacy product, it appears simple enough at the start because, in an Agile fashion, the change should be small enough to implement quickly so value is realized. However, when the project team begins researching the implementation, dependencies are discovered. Inevitably, the estimate for delivery changes as the simple change accommodates dependencies of technologies and other groups in the enterprise.

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