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Agile software development is a scam

Posted by derekbobo on May 7, 2009

That’s right developers you have been had. I’m sorry to be the one who breaks it to you but I can no longer let you bang out code and not realize you’re being taken advantage of.

According to Wikipedia agile software development is:

Agile software development refers to a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams.

Let me translate this for you. Your marketing group can now sell to the clients (internal or external) that your development house can operate without requirements. We will build you software and you don’t have to tell us what it needs to do. The business folks then think, wow this is great. I can change my mind as much as I want and not have to put any time up front to plan out the solution and all the variables associated with it.

From there standpoint this is a great place to be. They have no skin in the game. For the developers… well you’re getting screwed. You now have to do twice as much work (or more) because you have new requirements and features thrown at you constantly. You have to redo work you’ve completed because you didn’t have an expectation set for you. The end product isn’t what it could be because you had no vision in mind throughout the process and this can cause significant pain for organizations downstream.

At the end of the day agile is fine if you’re a research and development shop where you are coming up with a proof of concept. Once you’ve validated something you then leverage that knowledge to build the real thing from a functioning prototype.

If you want quality software/systems built you need to think and plan through things appropriately. Stick to the waterfall model. This requires all parties involved to work through the issues and come to conclusions, to lay out requirements, set forth a design and get signoff at each phase. If you do this you will have a blueprint for which to build from and you will have set the appropriate expectations.

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