Like software projects that use other development methodologies, agile projects can fail. They fail when agile development practices aren’t understood and/or aren’t followed. And they fail when organizations don’t realize that doing agile development requires a significant cultural change. Agile is not a tool you can simply install and expect to turn out perfect software.
An interesting dialog is taking place on James Shore’s blog stemming from his post “The decline and fall of agile.” Shore, an agile consultant and trainer, says more companies now call him for help with their flailing projects than to learn about agile. They’re struggling, he said, because they’re misapplying agile practices and because they don’t want to put in the time and effort to truly change.
Some companies, as other agile experts have advocated, have selected only a few agile practices to implement. The problem, Shore said, is that they’re not selecting the ones that make agile work.
Doing agile development requires a commitment. You need to take time to learn what it involves and make a plan to implement it. Agile is not “cowboy” as some people have said; it is highly disciplined, and it requires focus.