Whether you’re on the fence about trying Agile, or you just can’t understand how it would fit into your project, you should first understand what Agile is not. We’re here to debunk some common misunderstandings:
1. There’s no documentation
Many people are under the impression that being Agile means we don’t produce any documentation, but this simply isn’t true. We do produce documentation, but only what’s needed. One of the main concepts of Agile is to generate ‘no waste’, and to be as efficient as possible.
Therefore we only create documentation that is strictly necessary, and rather than creating everything at the beginning, we do it as we go along to ensure we are flexible as new situations arise.
2. There’s no planning
As with documentation, we prefer not to plan every detail at the beginning, because things change and you can’t possibly know everything you’re going to need before you’ve even started.
Instead, we plan what we need for each block of work, and review how the plan worked before starting the next block.
3. Developers and Stakeholders need to be at the same location
Because of our essentialist approach to specifications and planning, communication is key! But this doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be in the same location as our clients.
We use tools such as Leankit and Skype to ensure we are in continuous contact throughout the project, and we send out releases at the end of each sprint (2 to 3 weeks) to encourage regular feedback on all elements of the project.
4. Agile doesn’t work with ISO or FDA standards
As previously mentioned, any specifications or documentation that are necessary to the project will be created, so if it requires compliance with an ISO standard, we will provide the documentation needed because it is necessary to the success of the project.
5. Agile will solve all software problems
If there is a problem with the software, using flexible Agile processes will make the problem come to the surface quicker, due to the continuous feedback loops and testing methods. Bringing these issues to light quickly means that they can be dealt with faster.
Many people find that things will get worse before they get better, due to suddenly finding issues that they weren’t aware of before. This doesn’t mean there are more problems, it just means that you are now aware of them.
6. There’s only one ‘right’ way to do Agile
In fact, there are many different variations of Agile, such as XP, Scrum or Lean. Each one contains methods that will suit different businesses, so choosing a variation completely depends on your current processes.
7. Agile isn’t predictable
Because we prefer not to provide large specifications at the start, many companies may be concerned that they won’t be able to predict the outcome. But with releases and updates being delivered at the end of each sprint for feedback, it is easier for clients to see the software grow and develop, and having elements to test out at each step means the project becomes more tangible.
In traditional Waterfall methods, it could be six months before there is a release for the client to see, and so they will have less vision on how the project is progressing.
We are also able to estimate how long the project will take using our teams’ velocity and the arrival rate of new work items. After the first few sprints, we can extrapolate these rates using a cumulative flow graph to estimate how long it will take to complete the work.
If you still aren’t sure whether Agile would work for you, feel free to get in touch to ask any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.