As I’ve written previously, more and more organizations are adopting Agile development processes, but there remains a great deal of confusion regarding what Agile is and what it can do. This post is the continuation of my series to quash myths regarding Agile.
Myth #3: Agile is just the latest project management fad.
I run into a lot of old school project managers who tell me that Agile is just another project management fad. I cringe when I hear this because it tells me how little they understand what Agile really is.
The first and most important thing to understand is that Agile is not a methodology. Agile is a mindset and a new way of working that more closely mirrors the processes of today’s knowledge workers. Knowledge workers are not serial. They create, edit, and revisit their ideas until they arrive at the best possible solution. When I wrote this blog post, I did not start with a requirements document and then refine my design until I could write a finished post. Instead, I started the post and refined it through a series of edits. The creation process was iterative, not serial. This process of iteration is natural to most people. Why would development projects work any differently?
The second thing to understand is that Agile is not new. Winston Royce wrote a paper on software development in 1970 that became the foundation of the Waterfall methodology. As part of his conclusions, Winston advocated an iterative approach to project delivery. Unfortunately, his iterative suggestions were ignored and the Waterfall methodology was born. Agile concepts like Extreme Programming were proposed in the 1990s. The Agile Manifesto itself was developed in 2001. As you can see, Agile concepts have been around for over 40 years and they remain more popular than ever.
Finally, Agile is here to stay because it works. Kimberly Chan of OneDesk has a great blog post summarizing Agile statistics (see http://www.onedesk.com/2013/05/agile-adoption-statistics-2012/).
Some of her most interesting stats are below:
- Agile succeeds three times more often than Waterfall.
- 49% of businesses say most of their company is using Agile development.
- 52% of customers are happy or very happy with Agile projects.
- The use of Agile project management tools has jumped by 8%.
As these statistics show, Agile adoption is growing. Organizations are finding Agile works. Development teams feel empowered, stakeholders are getting what they want, and business value is being delivered sooner.
The next time someone tells you that Agile is a fad, point them to this post.