Agile is a widely accepted software development methodology, well suited for business use because it allows organizations to gain a better understanding software projects and reduce the overall risk of software development. It is critical that users thoroughly understand the agile process in order to avoid common pitfalls that can cause delays.
Nevertheless, flawed agile implementations can still result in a failure to fully realize benefits, notably significant stakeholder engagement and early, predictable software delivery. Flawed implementations often result in misconceptions that agile methodology is inadequate, when the true problem lies within the developmental stages, not within the methodology’s design.
Here are the top five misconceptions that undermine a successful agile adoption:
1. Revising previous tests isn’t common practice.
As the team repeats multiple work measurements, there probably will be a need to revise earlier tests. These revisions should not come as a surprise and are a necessary component of continuously improving the software. However, to realize efficient adoption of agile that is in budget and on time, the project team needs to establish scope boundaries and leverage quarterly targets.
2. Implementing agile doesn’t require documentation of development.
All team members must understand the changes that took place during software development. Through effective documentation of these changes, stakeholder engagement will increase and common product testing delays will decrease, if not disappear entirely. Documentation doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but tracking the progress of software development and its changes is critical for the team to understand the status of each requirement and any succeeding changes.
3. Authorizing agile will guarantee a project’s success.
Agile methodology by itself is not the only or even the main guarantor of a software development projects’ success. Team member skills and availability are the core foundation of any project’s outcome. An organization must be prepared to muster adequate resources during agile, which may require a significant investment of both time and money. However, appropriate investment is crucial, as having the right decision makers in place will promote quick turnaround and successful development.
4. Testing in agile isn’t necessary.
Testing in agile is critical to project quality. Testing allows for identification of defects within development work, which in turn leads to more effective resolution of unexpected defects. The key here is to make frequent test cases and document the findings.
5. Planning isn’t critical in the agile methodology.
Design can and will change as the project evolves, but a high-level plan from leadership is critical from the start. Without this, organizations will struggle to move forward with the project, which will cause delays and/or an unintended direction. Development work on the project should not begin until a solid plan is created.
In conclusion, incorporating agile methodology in software development is not necessarily easy, but the benefits — a quick and efficient process — are worth it. Employing a solid combination of knowledge, tools and experience is what allows organizations to leverage agile principles in a way that supports business needs and provides a solid foundation for promoting them throughout the organization.
Rick Raisinghani is a director with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
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