Is Agile Right for you?
The “it” thing in the IT-BA world right now seems to be an interest in using Agile methodology. People hear that being Agile means you are faster, cheaper, and create less documentation. While this may be true for some projects you should find out if Agile is right for you and your project.
- Do you know your requirements before development begins?
If you know all the project requirements are (plan-driven) before development begins then you may not need to use Agile (change-driven) methods for requirements elicitation.
- Do you have a separate testing and development team?
Agile is big on team activities with development and testing groups working together. If the development team and test team do not interact on a daily basis or work closely together then it may not be a good idea to use Agile methods.
- Are you producing a fully functioning product after each phase?
Agile is great for producing quick projects such that when a phase of development and testing is complete you have a working product. If it takes you longer than two to four weeks to produce a working product then Agile might not be an appropriate methodology for the project.
- Do people work more as individuals or as a team?
Agile is about teamwork. If your stakeholders work better as individuals, producing individual results than working with a group of people working towards a common goal then another methodology might work better for your organization.
- Does the sponsor take a daily role in the project life cycle?
If the project sponsor is just the person that signs off on the documents or pays the bills then you might not need Agile to help speed things along. Agile requires someone that can play an active role in the project lifecycle and is able to approve requirements and changes as quickly as possible.
- Does another methodology work for your organization?
If you or your organization have used other methodologies successfully and you consistently produce projects on time, on budget, and within scope there is little need to switch to another methodology.
- Does a plan-driven approach work well for your project or organization?
If stakeholders prefer to know what you are going to create before you start the design phase then Agile may not be the best methodology to use. Plan-driven methods work well when requirements are known before design and development begin.
- Are you working on continuous improvement projects?
If you do not have to constantly create mini projects to update or create new functionality then you can use a methodology that allows for in-depth analysis and design without having to overlap different phases in the SDLC.
- Do your project phases overlap?
If you are not working on a compressed or overlapping schedule and you have time allotted to each phase of the SDLC then you do not need to use the Agile methodology.
- Do you fully understand how Agile methodology works?
If you or your team doesn’t fully understand how Agile works then do not use it. Agile has a lot of advantages but projects fail when stakeholders do not understand the processes that they are supposed to follow.