Perils of Agile development – the outsourcee’s perspective

Alex Deva has recently written a very persuasive article on the frustrations of Agile development as seen from the far end of an outsourcing agreement. He runs a company in Romania - Indigenous Development – and has past experience of many Agile projects.

I couldn’t agree with his observations more. The problems he observes are problems that arise in on-shored and near-shored development models as well. They are inherent weaknesses of Agile. I think he stated them very clearly though.

Unlike Alex, I think what is required is not a return to the classic waterfall model. After all, what Agile sought to overturn really was just as bad. Instead, I think that what we need is a more formal version of Agile  with a period of up-front intense requirements analysis and high-level architecture. In other words we need to merge the benefits of both methodologies, throwing out any practices that will upset the balance of power within the project team.

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3 comments

  1. I can see where his pain his… but seriously, man! When has any project been about anything other than keeping the customer happy. Agile projects, fixed price projects, it’s all the same. You need to know how to deal with a customer and tune the engagement to the customer. Agile at least helps in that regard with the “inspect & adapt” theory. If his projects have gone off track then I’d say there wasn’t a lot of adapting going on.

  2. Andrew,

    I believe you’re underestimating the human factor. In theory, Agile is actually quite formal; for instance, Wikipedia says that the Agile paradigm recommends talks every few weeks or so. However, once you’re advertising yourself as an Agile company, you’ll be having a horrible time fighting your client’s need for daily control.

    The human factor… something so common, yet so commonly left out of so many otherwise great ideas.

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