Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Agile or not Agile ? That’s the question…

Agile manifesto:

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan” 

Let’s look at the Agile manifesto. Now, let’s ask the following question: is it an easy task to switch from a non-Agile development process to an Agile one ? Moving from a methodology where everything is managed by tools, written in documents, negotiated upfront and planned before starting…  to a methodology that follows this manifesto like scrum and taking into account all risks around this change.
In my opinion, there’s a set of parameters that should be taken into account when considering moving to Agile methodologies:
  1. Calculate change cost for the following needs: tools and training. Having the team ready to be agile will require some preparations, trainings, even reorganization.
  2. Analyze side effects on the product itself: development efficiency during first training/experimental period, Time To Market delays and productivity issues.
  3. Ask some simple question on team behavior: Are team members ready or not to align their day to day work with the Agile manifesto ? Agile is more than a methodology, it's even a spirit. Beside development process changes, it includes interaction and communication changes, which are not easy to put in place, sometimes the most difficult ones.
  4. Will the customer accept this change ? In the Agile manifesto, customer collaboration is more important than following plan, but it should be one of the point to be prepared before taking a decision to be Agile.
We can spend months to have a full operational Agile team, so before starting, we should think twice on these points.

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