Agile is such a hot methodology that even teams outside software development try to incorporate it into their workflow. However, agile isn’t necessary for everyone. Before you decide whether to take a job in an agile environment, it’s important to know the benefits and drawbacks.
The Benefits of Agile
First, let’s examine the pros of working in an agile environment.
- Response to change: Agile teams focus on the most important thing they can work on right now, then they focus on the next most important thing and so on down the line. This allows customers to get solutions to immediate problems quickly, teams can adapt quickly to change, and priorities can be adjusted in real-time in response to actual conditions.
- Fast review cycles: Agile is focused on prompt reviews and feedback which allows teams to make changes in real–time rather than working on a product or project to completion and delivering something no one likes.
- More flexibility in feature releases. In waterfall development, releases only occur when all planned work is completed or at a date set forth by stakeholders who demand a product regardless of how far along it is. With agile, the focus is on delivering a product or project in time-boxed, effort-based iterations that offers more flexibility on when the final version can be released to users.
The Drawbacks of Agile
Agile has many advantages, but it isn’t perfect. Some of the drawbacks include:
- More time: Developers, testers and sometimes users must continually interact throughout a project. Continually checking and checking one another to sign off on every step can be tedious and can actually take up more time from everyone involved in the project.
- Documentation issues: Software requirements are not clarified until time for development and documentation can suffer along the way. When new people join the team, they often lack the detailed documentation they need on features and performance, which can stymie the entire project.
- Projects can go sideways: Agile requires little planning to get started which can lead to lack of focus and one miscommunication from a customer who doesn’t know how to make clear requests can send developers down the wrong path of development. It also has the potential for scope creep, and an ever-changing product becomes an ever-lasting one.
Is An Agile Environment Right For You?
Not everyone thrives in an agile environment. To be successful with agile, you must accept uncertainty, value interactions, and focus on delivering a working product every step of the way.