A Real Misconception About Agile Software Development

By · April 17, 2012 · Filed in Software Development for Executives
What is the current misconception about agile software development?

There appears to be a real misperception about agile or iterative software development – many executives and business leaders perceive agile to be ‘ad hoc’ and therefore not an approach for larger, more-complex systems.

What is agile software development?…and what it’s not

One key point I would like to make is that  agile is not a software development life cycle ( SDLC ) process.  Agile is a learning framework.  If you are moving toward agile, one key thing to keep in mind is that your development team still needs a software development life cycle process.  A software development life cycle process provides structure and a framework to take advantage of agile methods, otherwise there is a good chance your agile project will end in failure.

What is going wrong with agile software development today?

I have talked to more than one organization that tried and failed with agile development – but the reason for the failure was not agile.  The failure was because agile was not given a process to make it successful.  It’s like giving a race car to someone who has never driven before and telling them to race at the Indy in Toronto … and then being surprised when they smash up the car.

What needs to change to make agile software development work?

Agile can — and does — deliver benefits of faster time to market, faster delivery of business value, lower costs, but it needs certain infrastructure to hold it together. That structure is provided by the software development life cycle (SDLC) process.

It’s common when teams start a new agile project they interpret the ‘Agile Manifesto‘ incorrectly.  Take, for example, the first statement from the Manifesto…

 ‘Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.’

For software development teams, this is music to their ears because there are no more process, no more reports, no more controls.  This statement says people and their interactions are most important.  While that is true and a key part of agile is that it should not be mistaken to read  ‘process and tools are not important.’

You may also like to see this topic Confessions of an Agile Scrum Master.

John Munro
Web Financial Solutions


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