5 Myths About Agile Development

As Agile development becomes increasingly popular, there are also some myths that often surround Agile. Some of these myths arise from a misunderstanding of what Agile is and how it is practiced – and this post aims to address the most frequent ones.

1. Agile does not use documentation

This is perhaps one of the most famous myths about agile. The most common excuse given for the propagation of this fallacy is the line in the Agile manifesto that says “Working software over comprehensive documentation”. This is probably one of the most misunderstood sentences in the manifesto. The question of how an Agile framework like the Scrum can survive in highly regulated environments like the finance industry without documentation beats the imagination if this myth were to be true. The truth is that Agile processes uses documentation, but only the one which adds value and benefits the project, instead of documentation for the sake of documentation.

2. There is no control in Agile

One of the biggest fears people encounter while dealing with Agile is that of losing control of their teams. The misconception that often arises is that Agile is all about anarchy, because the team is self-organized. This is far from the truth. It is true that the role of the management does change in Agile but they still play a crucial role in within the company. It is the role of the manager to make sure that the goals, visions and constraints of a project are well-defined. When these roles are well-defined, it will be easy for the team to be self-organized.  So in reality, there is nothing to be afraid about in self-organization. In fact, it should often be encouraged as it makes the work of the manager easier and the process more effective.

3. Agile is faster

Naming an iteration a “sprint” does not mean it is faster than other processes. While it may be true that Agile as a whole makes development process faster, the initial process might be anything but fast. Quality takes time to accomplish and it needs time. Agile methodology ensures there are lesser bugs to fix and the software is sustainable. Agile also aims to minimize waste, which helps to make sure that the process is not stuck with the tasks that do not have a purpose.

4. Agile is a silver bullet

While many may wish this to be true, in reality there is no silver bullet in software development. Agile is about the people in a team; you need to have the right people in a team to create awesome products. Even the Agile manifesto said as much “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. Agile can make the right team more productive and the process more adaptive, but it will not fix all the problems of an organization.

5. Agile is easy

Finally, it is often said that agile is easy. When a team switches from traditional software development methods to agile, it is sometimes possible to deliver a quality shippable product in four weeks – that was previously done in one year. But it does not mean that software development has now become easy. Agile process eliminates some of the redundant work – but developing an awesome product can take a lot hard work in spite of whether Scrum, Kanban or another agile methodology was used.

agile and lean project task board

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