Talking with a client this week, he was complaining about Agile methodologies and stated that his “next generation projects” were not delivering the expected productivity gains.
What was happening? I think that there were a few things at work here…
First, our client had spent a large amount of time and money “adapting” the methodology to his environment. During this process, a number of key aspects had been watered down to the point where the base intent was lost.
Second, there was a serious lack of experienced Agile team members who knew what they were doing. I see this more and more across the industry. Without these experienced people to coach and lead, teams lose time and focus as they search for existing solutions.
Lastly, there are natural diminishing returns as the new practices are generalized. The first couple of generations of Agile projects were staffed with the best and most proactive advocates. With each generation of projects this gets watered down and there is a return to the mean.
It’s essential that companies understand what’s happening, where their projects fit in the larger heirarchy of Agile and adjust accordingly. It’s not possible for every project to be world beating but then every project doesn’t have to be.