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Are Agile Organizations a Mistake?

In an article for CMSWire, Tom Petrocelli throws down the gauntlet against, well, everyone who likes agile. He thinks agile, DevOps, and their associated factors are nice in theory but do not actually work in real life. And although he concedes some organizations have derived great success from in it, he believes it is more natural for organizations to falter from it. Will you agree with his reasons?

Agile No More

Petrocelli does not air many of his own grievances with agile, instead compiling a list of common problems he sees with organizations wanting to execute agile. Here is his first one:

The entire organization must be aligned to developing software in flexible and collaborative teams. That’s great if your business is developing software. If it’s not, then other aspects of the business are less likely to be able to or have the incentive to adapt to these methodologies.

If your business is health insurance, why would you structure your company around software development rather than delivering insurance plans?

This, in my opinion, is his most valid argument. But let’s take a look at the rest of the problems he identifies:

  1. In the average company, most development is still waterfall.
  2. “Most developers” don’t understand agile.
  3. Companies don’t understand DevOps either.
  4. Agile assumes ongoing and constant development, but project budgets are not long-term.
  5. Agile and collaborative methodologies usually demand colocation.
  6. Back-end constraints are major impediments to making what customers want.
  7. Continuous releases confuse the people who can never get used to a product as-is.

Describing lack of comprehension of agile and DevOps as significant problems is worth raising an eyebrow over. Any alien methodology is going to require a legitimate learning investment to understand; lack of understanding should never be treated as a wall too high to climb. The issue of colocation too seems like making a mountain out of a molehill.

His concern that constant development introduces unnatural processes into business is worthy of more consideration. Some aspects of agile truly do not scale so well yet, in spite of the scaling options that currently exist. Petrocelli concludes, or at least suggests, that the agile companies that have succeeded are anomalies, or whose agile success is contingent upon the companies being and remaining small. What do you think?

You can view the original article here:

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid’s Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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One comment

  1. Len Whitmore, CSM

    The author in my view shows a lack of understanding of Agile and refers what many organizations have done in trying to meddle Agile and Waterfall methods which creates the real problems he is addressing.

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