Agile has single-handedly changed the way a development team undertakes a software development project. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the sidelining of better alternatives. Based on our own experience, we can say that Agile is not the silver bullet to all your software development project issues. Moreover, it is increasingly becoming a common practice by many tech organizations to twist the actual principles and misrepresent Agile.
Agile’s increased exposure has left the new generation of developers with little or no exposure to alternative methods that can deliver results. Not only this, but the development team is also under undue pressure to keep up with the two-week sprint, which at times doesn’t make any sense. Projects which involve a lot of infrastructures, embedded systems, codes for safety-critical systems that are only functional when integrated into the operating system are not suited for an Agile approach.
In the end, even if the team manages to overcome this challenge, the same team might face the daunting task of switching over to an alternative methodology owing to its steep learning curve.
Let me be very clear over here that I am not anti-Agile. Still, I do want to create awareness and introduce cautionary measures that can come handy while deciding Agile’s utility in the bigger scheme of things.
So let’s see how in eight different ways Agile can become a nightmare.
1. Agile is misunderstood
Many technical teams claim their prowess over Agile, which is based on their theoretical knowledge of the concept. They lack any extensive expertise in terms of practical application and in the face of technical glitches. They don’t properly understand the underlying philosophy and have developed a misconstrued notion of Agile. Any organization that constantly invests in training its staff to improve their understanding and grasp over the concept is well aware of Agile’s limitations.
2. Agile is not adopted in complete faith
A lot of organizations fall in the trap of doing what everyone seems to be doing. Agile being a popular approach is quite easily imitated by many companies who are trying to be like their competition. Yes, it may have worked for your competition, but it doesn’t need to work for your company. You may, of course, draw inspiration from the competition, but it should give birth to new ideas and should fit in comfortably with your team’s mindset and production environment. Agile will fail you if you are not able to personalize the processes according to your team and customer’s requirement.
3. Agile is adopted for the sake of popularity
You have adopted Agile because it has become the latest fad in the industry. You want to replace it with your well-established homegrown process despite it being more effective than Agile. There is nothing wrong with continuing with your existing processes even if they are not as famous as Agile. Agile is preferred in scenarios where the scope of the project is well not clearly defined. On the other hand, when a project has a well-defined scope, Waterfall is the perfect way to move ahead.
4. Agile turns out to be expensive
Many a time, regulatory bodies recommend Agile methodologies during the process of development. This results in changing your existing processes and documentation. Now, your team needs to be re-aligned and trained for the Agile methodology to cope with the new approach and abide by regulatory norms.
5. The two-week timeline is taxing
At times the desirable outcome can’t be configured to the two-week timeline and prove that the project is running smoothly. Agile does its best in simplifying a complex project into simpler executable sprints, but sometimes a project is just not meant for the Agile method.
6. The customer doesn’t want Agile
In principle, Agile demands that the ownership of a product lies with the owner, who primarily drives the project forward. The owner is responsible for defining the features and analyze the feedback after each sprint and consolidates them for future product use. But what if the expectations of the end-users are different than Agile’s. They may expect a full version of a product and may release funds only when the product is finally released.This may lead to confusion and unnecessary complications in the project.
7. Agile-Waterfall combo
If you tried combining Agile with Waterfall approach, your process is doomed from the beginning. Your intentions might be to get the best of both the worlds, but often, it has a reverse effect. You should make a decision when it comes to adopting Agile. If it isn’t what you are looking for, then you should avoid Agile at all costs. You will always be better off by sticking up to one methodology.
8. Undue claim to Agile
You have named your process Agile, but in practicality, it only helps you get attention from developers and members who are looking for a job in an Agile, compliant organization. Your production schedule is not well managed and might not allow you to deploy an Agile like output schedule. You may have merely adopted the terminology, but it would be ethically wrong to claim something very different from Agile.
Agile is a wonderful methodology, and it can be applied to a variety of project requirements, and it surely can, with proper training, be learned by developers. Sometimes due to training limitations, customer apprehension, and working conditions, it is not practical to implement Agile in every process.
Ace has worked on Agile based projects as well as the ones who didn’t require Agile at all, in fact, we used a blended Waterfall project. In our experience, we have learned that being objective about Agile has not only made us a lot more efficient, but it also builds confidence in the customer who may not know which approach is right for their product development.