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Is Agile Development Dead? Stirring Up the Discussion

by | February 9, 2022

In 2021, the Agile Manifesto turned 20 years old. Is Agile development dead, as some are claiming? Or is it still relevant for software development?

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development, also known as the Agile Manifesto, just completed 20 years. In recent years, experts started to say that Agile development is dead. The Agile manifesto’s contribution to the software development industry is undeniable, and the reasons why so many people love it are plenty. The Agile methodology is an essential factor in the custom web application development services at Scopic, but it’s not the universal approach for our projects.

However, there’s also a massive industry for making things Agile and implementing Agile to technology companies. Experienced developers and engineering leaders claim that the Agile methodology cannot be scaled relentlessly. They also say that the term Agile is almost worn out and stripped off its meaning. One thing is for sure: saying that Agile software development is dead sounds harsh. Let’s learn more about the Agile principles to understand this discussion.

What is Agile Development?

Agile development started simply as a manifesto made by a group of IT professionals on the best practices for software projects. Their goal was to uncover better ways of developing software. The principles behind the manifesto included prioritizing individuals and interactions over processes and tools, customer collaboration over contract negotiation, working product over comprehensive documentation, and responding to change over following a plan.

Since the manifesto was launched, the Agile Methodology evolved into a complex software development life cycle model (SDLC). Nowadays, the agile approach has become an umbrella with several sprint-based methodologies under it, such as Kanban, Lean, Scrum, hybrids, and others. Like other SDLCs, Agile has its pros and cons, depending on the project scope, timeline, and budget.

scrum and agile methodology screenshot

Reasons to Believe that Agile is Not Dead

It Revolutionized Software Development

When the Agile manifesto was created, the prevailing SDLC was Waterfall, which values contract negotiation, comprehensive documentation, and following a plan. As technologies evolved and demanded an approach that would satisfy customers faster, the Agile approach revolutionized software development services. The focus on people and deliverables over processes and contracts was a much-needed fundamental change for the industry.

It Motivates People and Has High Customer Collaboration

As the Agile methodologies focus on individual empowerment over rigid processes, people feel highly motivated to work on projects with this approach. The continuous client contact allows for intense customer collaboration, creating synergy and satisfaction. And because it enables dynamic thinking and short-term planning, stakeholders are pleased to see working products fast.

It Adapts to Change and Delivers Faster

Many IT companies use the Agile approach as the central methodology behind their most successful projects. The main reasons for this choice include accelerating software delivery, increasing the ability to manage changing priorities, and increasing productivity. Indeed, this approach makes it easier to enhance software quality and fix bugs and issues as they occur. If the specifications or ideas change, the project requirements can be easily adapted while the development work is done efficiently.

It Meets Expectations and Satisfies Customers

With an Agile approach for product management, teams are independent and self-organized, and user feedback is highly appreciated. The solutions have high flexibility, issues can be solved at any stage, and the feedback can be implemented fast. Since clients and users are highly involved, teams can easily add new features and meet expectations quickly. Agile projects can produce high levels of customer satisfaction.


future of agile development graphic

Reasons to Believe Agile Development is Dead (Or it’s Dying)

Despite the undeniable advantages to the Agile frameworks, the reasons why experts claim that Agile software development is dead are not groundless. They may not be wrong when they say that Agile is not a universal solution.

The Term Agile Was Stripped Off Its Meaning

One of the prominent voices behind the manifesto, Dave Thomas, claims that “Agile is Dead.” According to Thomas, the consultancies and practices many companies sell, overuse the term Agile and empty it of the original manifesto context, making it meaningless. Businesses selling certifications and training are full of processes and techniques that go against the Agile manifesto’s central values.

The Agile Approach is Not Budget-Friendly

An Agile approach may not always be the best way to tackle a budget-sensitive project. Agile projects may not be a fit if your business has a strict budget and deadline. The ever-changing requirements can make it impossible to anticipate project costs. It’s challenging to set a budget from the start because you can’t predict the needed resources and time.

It Can Be Hard to Measure Success

An Agile project can get lost in the documentation and planning if the team is not diligent. This situation can cause the final product to be fragmented and derail from the initial value proposition. So, it’s crucial not to leave the documentation and planning entirely aside. If your business doesn’t have a clear plan for the final product, the process can take too long. The scenario can change at every new sprint, and if the goals are not set, the team can get lost.

Sometimes Agile Is Not the Best Approach

Although the advantages of going for an Agile approach when developing software are significant, it’s not always a fit. If you have a small or medium project, a small team, and a strict budget, simply following Agile principles may not be the best approach. You can have some of the principles implemented but follow the guidelines of other SDLCs and go for a hybrid approach.

Final Verdict: Is Agile Development Dead? No!

If you are thinking about doing things “Agile” in your company by following a heavy set of rules and processes, perhaps this is indeed a dying concept. However, an impressive amount of technology companies still uses Agile methodologies in software development. And the massive success rate related to Agile projects is not to be ignored. The triumph is related to delivering products that customers love, managing large teams of satisfied developers, and making better software.

Doing things with agility in any business should be crucial, but sometimes a software project needs a different approach. You don’t need to pick just one methodology and stick with it until the end. So, before deciding on your specific project development needs, consult with an expert to find what’s the best model.

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