Thursday, 21 April 2011

How do you decide if Agile is suitable to your project or not?

I get this a lot and usually I don’t give a simple and straight answer. This time I will make an exception.

So how do you decide if an agile is suitable for your project or not?

Simple! if you ask this question the answer is NO. I’ll repeat Agile is NOT suitable for your project.

wait wait, an agile coach saying that agile is not suitable???? what the…????

Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying, as long as you keep asking this question, clearly you are not at the point of adopting Agile into your project.

I have found that I get this question from 3 type of people:

The agile practitioner/coach/consultant.

I ask you: do you really need an answer for this? who is doing the asking. Most likely these are just repeating the question. Since they have been asked by the other types. So for you, I hope this post will give an alternative answer to give.

People who have encountered Agile and think it’s nonsense.

These people have already decided against Agile. They are just seeking for excuses for not doing it. The hard truth is that adopting Agile requires people collaboration. chances for success drastically goes down if the people involved don’t want to go all the way and actually adopt agile values. So if you don’t want to do Agile, don’t do it.

Why seek excuses? clearly Agile will not work in your project, so until you decide to really give it a chance don’t try it.

Agile newcomers who doesn’t know what it is.

Everyone working in an agile way passed through this point. at this point you probably heard some stuff about Agile/Scrum/Kanban… you have heard rumors and stories about great success however you are not yet sure what it is and how does it fit into your process so for now you just want to know whether you should invest time and effort in this.

However if you are still at this point, don’t try it just yet. Simply because you are not yet ready. Most likely you are lacking the needed knowledge to make it work. Adopting an agile methodology is not a trivial thing, it requires knowledge and expertise. Agile implementations can and does fail and one of the common reason I see is partial knowledge of what Agile is all about. so until you gain the needed knowledge Agile is not (yet) suitable for your project.

Basically I think this is the wrong question, instead you should ask yourself the following:

  • How will an Agile approach can help me improve?
  • What can be the benefits I might gain if I’ll become agile?
  • What will be my impediments for adopting an agile process?
  • How can I increase my chances for success in becoming agile?
  • What might be the risks if I become agile?

After answering these question you can decide how to proceed.

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