Is Agile a Silver Bullet?


Is Agile a Silver Bullet?

May 22, 2013
Image of a silver bullet.

Anywhere you turn, Agile is everywhere. Everyone is talking about Agile. Nobody really knows who ignited the Agile fire, but it’s growing brighter day by day. It is well known that Agile can help project delivery in multiple ways, but do you think it is the silver bullet that we’ve been looking for quite some time?

Is Agile a single solution to several root causes of the failures of a majority of projects?

The answer is “No.” Agile is not a silver bullet that will fix all problems related to project delivery. There are certain environments in which Agile works best and others where it may not work at all. Agile is best suited for projects where:

1. The leader/sponsor has a clear vision but project scope is not known in its entirety.

2. The project requirements are evolving and can’t be spelled out in greater detail at the beginning of the project. Things become clear with the passage of time, similar to the cone of uncertainty.

3. Changes are expected, even later in the project. In fact, changes are welcome and don’t require a very formal method of approval such as having a change control board (CCB).

4. The time and cost are fixed, but the scope is flexible. The client will accept a lesser number of features at the end but whatever gets delivered should be usable.

5. Sponsors, customers and stakeholders are anxious to consume the low hanging fruits ASAP without waiting for the entire project to finish. They are okay with small and frequent deliveries that are ready to go live without waiting for the entire functionality to be ready.

6. Customers are highly involved in the project; they participate in the project almost every day.

You need to have met certain conditions (as listed above) for Agile to be successfully deployed. If a project or organization does not have the right environment, the project using Agile methodology is doomed for failure.

Therefore, be careful before you launch deployment of Agile in your environment. Create the suitable conditions first, and then launch Agile methodology.

If you’re interested in learning more about Agile, visit our Agile Transformation page.

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