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Discussion on: Agile is Difficult Because of Difficulty

kyleljohnson profile image
Kyle Johnson

Those failure numbers still shock me. In the 3 years I have been with my current company only one project "failed" out of 20+ medium to large projects. It failed because when we finished the software, we then was told the software was no longer needed.

Agile has very little to do with projects failing. Agile methodologies actually should decrease project failures.

I agree that most projects fail to do inexperienced/un-knowledgeable developers not being able to deliver the requirements. That being said there needs to be knowledgeable managers, business analysts, architects that act as gate-keepers to prevent unrealistic requirements from getting to developers.

scotthannen profile image
Scott Hannen Author

The problem with developer knowledge and experience intrigues me. It's real, but they're usually hired and managed by people who don't know the difference. Management wants better results but they don't know why they're not getting them. The developers might be oblivious, or they might want to deliver better results but not know how.

If management lacks the ability to evaluate the skill of employees either before or after hiring them (and, as a result, cannot help them to improve, because they aren't aware of the need) then they can't manage a software project.

But no one corrects that for the exact same reason. If the developers don't know whether they're doing a good job and their managers can't tell the difference, that means that the executives can't tell if the managers are qualified to do their jobs.

At each step the real problems are invisible to every level, from the individual contributor to the executives. The only way they can perceive problems are through delays and budget overruns, and the reasons will be explained to them by people who don't know what the reasons are. So once in a while they fire a manager. Then they try Agile, putting most of their energy into the parts that have the least to do with their problems (which they still don't know about) and get frustrated when the results don't change at all.