Is agile easy or hard, simple or complicated?

I’m giving a lightning talk Wednesday, 11.feb, on SW2009, Oslo. It’s on a day-track called “Future development processes in a post-agile world (Effective software development)”. What’s your thoughts about that title? Clever? Needed? Provoking? Sad? Happy?

My thought? – Are we even agile yet? I think we’re far away from post-agile, but it’s probably good for us to discuss the subject.

Anyways, my lightning talk title is “You have yet to have success with an agile project” (Du har til gode å ha suksess med gjennomføringen av et smidig prosjekt). Switch You with I and it’s partly true as well, because how do we measure success? Well, that’s a whole other discussion, all I know is that I felt we had a potential to do much better, given the resources and information available at the time.

The objective of my lightning talk is to affect the attitude I feel many people have towards agile. So, is agile easy or hard, simple or complicated?

Most agilists would claim “Agile is simple!”. Maybe they’re right, but herein lies the problem, I think. When we sell simple to the customer (and the developers for that sake!), we risk that he’ll take too lightly on the process. Perhaps key elements are forgotten or simply ignored? The customer plays a big part in both waterfall and agile, but in agile his role is very different. We need the customer (product owner) on-site, continuously providing feedback and steer the project in the desired direction according to the newer information obtained. Sounds feasible, and easy, but this person needs both domain knowledge and the executive rights to guide the projects. Who can spare such a vital person to a development project? It would certainly be an easier decision if the customer new the project would fail dramatically if not.

So, from now on, sell “Agile is hard, but you get the better product”. Then, maybe, agile will become easy ;)


About Ole Morten Amundsen

Developer, programmer, entrepreneur. Java, .Net, ruby, rails, agile, lean. Opinionated enthusiast!
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