Let’s be honest: at this point everybody and their dogs seem to be Agile. Almost every single software house and digital agency work accordingly to Agile methodology.
There are tons of conferences about Agile, workshops about implementing Agile into your working routine, there are Agile Coaches, Agile Masters and Agile Gurus - so it’s obvious that you want to be Agile, as well (although last yoga classes gave you some doubts).
With great popularity comes great critique. A lot of people wonder: is Agile as effective and useful as everyone seems to think? As we have a lot of experience working in this methodology (more about Agile as our development and design approach here), we can tell you for certain: it’s horrible. Here are the reasons, why:
1. You can’t swim in the ocean of paperwork anymore
Agile manifesto tells it upfront - it favors working software over comprehensive documentation. Working accordingly, you have to deliver only value-driven, business-beneficial documentation, focused on what’s really important for the project.
There is no place for the wonderful, time-consuming and work-blocking paperwork, no time being wasted on ineffective communication blocked by unnecessary documents. It’s horrifying. Because of that, we have more time for the development itself. Who wants that? Not to even mention the fact that our office shredder starves to death.
2. You can’t be unpleasantly surprised with final product anymore
Because of the meetings, sprint plannings and stand-ups, you know about everything that happens in the project. What’s worse - you can even intervene! Your feedback can be incorporated into future iterations. Misunderstandings and misconceptions can be recognised very early. You have the power to make revisions. Your requirements can emerge as your project grows.
Agile deprives you of the enjoyment of being disappointed with the final product - with properly executed Agile process, you end up having exactly what you wanted. It’s such a turnoff.
3. You have to be engaged and up to date
Working in Agile, you are not an employer that commissions work to be done. You are a part of the team. You see the work progress in full transparency and are able to check whether everything goes as planned.
That shouldn’t be the case. You should be able to experience the anxiety of uncertainty what is happening and whether the end result will be exactly as you expect. The sense of the ownership and control is definitely not something you want, right?
4. Each Sprint will bring you another mockup or Beta-version to review
Agile processes are based on an idea of working in recurrenting circles rather than in subsequent phases. Every Sprint is an integrated work of each team involved (Development, Design, etc), output of which is a part of product, prepared to be potentially delivered. This doesn’t mean that the product has enough value or marketability to be released, but that all the work that needed to be done for the currently implemented features has been done.
No one wants this kind of flexibility. Any releases should occur exactly on the date planned at the very beginning, no matter the state of work, how polished the product is and how many changes you would wish to make. Who wants to focus on sufficient functionality when you can focus on rigidly set time frames?
5. You are forced to do faster review cycles
Agile encourages you to contact your business partners regularly. As the whole process depends on cooperation and commitment from both sides, the more responsive you are, the faster the project occurs. Agile values comprehensive reviews and addressing issues as soon as possible.
Results? No one wastes time waiting for the response, everything is done on time. Once again: in a sneaky way you are being deprived of endless email exchanges, not to even mention that rush of adrenaline when you wonder whether you will get the response today or not. Those damn daily builds and constant checkups ruin everything. It used to be so much more fascinating with that constant uncertainty!
6. The risk of earning money rapidly increases
In Agile, you, as a client, are able to choose the features we should focus on. Basically, you determine what’s most important for your business.
Talking on our behalf, we are always doing deep market research, serving as advisors and validating our clients' business ideas. It essentially means that we not only take care of raw code, but also make sure that all the functionalities suit your project’s idea, are economically viable and will make your product truly attractive. That’s a very Agile characteristic, as Agile always prioritizes real value.
It’s really limitating. Working this way, you deliver only things that have a chance to succeed on the market. That shouldn’t be the case - money are bad and you shouldn’t earn them thanks to your hard work on an innovative project. Period.
7. Your product may succeed, which means more work for you
Remember, when we talked about testing your idea by developing an MVP? The general conclusion was that no matter how great the idea is, users can love it or not - even the most experienced inventors cannot fully predict their target’s reaction. Maybe you are trying to solve a problem that doesn’t even exist? There is a difference between being confident about your concept and blindly believing that it has no flaws and people will love it instantly.
Agile is keen on the needs of real users. As it is so flexible and gives so much space for making changes and incrementing a feedback, it provides an opportunity to do a lot of testing and reviews. Agile encourages you to be focused on what your target group really wants, so, once again, you deliver real value, not just a software.
As a result, you get a product your users can really benefit from. Why would you want it, though? It rapidly increases your chances to succeed on the market, so may bring your project much more popularity, wider audience and bigger income and, eventually, more work for you. Disadvantage after disadvantage. Think twice if you can handle it.
Praise of agility
As you have probably already noticed, this article may contain trace amounts of irony. We’ve been working in accordance to Agile methodology for quite some time now, and we truly know its pros and cons very well.
It’s not a faultless way of delivering a project, everything depends on how well you adapt it. You have to really understand the fundamental concept and take time to implement it, which most definitely isn’t easy. Not every work culture is ready for it. It may be challenging (especially with bigger projects), it may seem like it lacks predictability, it requires a lot of commitment and honesty. However, in our humble opinion - it’s totally worth it.
It’s not about emotional attachment to the famous buzzword. It’s not about following a given guidance religiously. It’s about incrementing good, logical practices that basically should be common sense based. Staying in touch, accepting the need for changes, reviewing what was done, focusing on real market need - if we take away fancy names and big words, we’ll see a reasonable way to deliver a successful product. That’s why all those companies are so onboard with it, not because it looks good on their website under the tab “Approach”. It’s a powerful tool for software development that helps to deal with many common obstacles, following understandable values - as little, and as much as that.