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Agile Software Development: Is it right for you?

Forget the hype: here’s the truth

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Reg Reader Workshop If there’s one thing software development has never been short of, it’s the more evangelical proponents of some methodology or another. It’s a tough one – because such types are not necessarily wrong, in principle at least. The trouble often comes when the rest of us cack-handed mortals actually try to implement whatever is being advocated.

And so it appears to be for Agile development, which according to many participants of the series of workshops held over the past few weeks, is not necessarily something that’s going to work for everyone. "A dangerous tool in the wrong hands", we were told on more than one occasion.

While there was a fair proportion of positive experiences, the feedback from many readers was less than polite. Taking everything you told us into account however, it was clear that Agile approaches do indeed have some specific merits that are well worth a look at. Not least for certain sorts of project, notably those where requirements are liable to change, or where speed of delivery is a significant factor. Together with the benefits, we were also able to collate and distil down the gotchas, which we’ve been feeding back throughout the workshops.

But is Agile development right for you? To conclude this workshop series we’ve consolidated your experiences, feedback and poll responses into a carefully crafted report which we hope will help you in your decision making processes. If there’s one thing we hope to leave you with, it’s the sense that Agile is not necessarily an easy option. While the principles are sound, there are plenty of things that can scupper Agile development, particularly for larger scale projects. Do look, then, for simpler opportunities to test things out, and do ensure you have the right level of skills and experience in place before waging the farm on Agile.

If you’re interested in understanding what exactly is Agile development, what kinds of project it suits, what are the benefits and indeed what to watch out for, this report is for you. As always, we’d welcome any feedback you might have.

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