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Agile?! Are You Crazy???


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Presentation to Lonetree PMI Roundtable on August 27, 2008. …

Presentation to Lonetree PMI Roundtable on August 27, 2008.


According to the Wall Street Journal agile development has "crossed the chasm." Why then are there still strong pockets of intense resistance to agile? This presentation takes a look at some of the most common misconceptions about agile development. It exposes the truth behind the myths and backs up many of the points with actual industry data. In the process, a basic business case for agility is created. The goal of this session is for all participants to leave with the knowledge necessary to answer the question "Why Agile?" In addition, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the realities of agile development and how it can help organizations.

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  • Is 50% even any good? Don’t we want to be a lot better than that?
  • Transcript

    • 1. Agile?! Are you crazy???
      Presentation Copyright © 2008, Agile For All, LLC. All rights reserved.
      Presented byBob HartmanAgile For
    • 2. Before We Start
      Cell phones, pagers, PDA’s, etc. to silent
      If you have a question, please ask it. Don’t wait! It is better to answer the question while we are still in the same area than to go back.
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 3. Introductions
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 4. Bob Hartman
      30+ years of software industry experience
      Certified Scrum Practitioner
      Bachelor and Masters degrees in Computer Science
      Roles included Tester, Developer, Dev Manager, QA Manager, Product Manager, Project Manager, VP…
      Started with agile in 1999
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 5. Who are you?
      Please introduce yourself including:
      Company and title
      Agile experience
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 6. Jack and Bill
      Two typical project managers have a chat
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 7. Meet Jack
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      A really hard-driving project manager. Jack is young and ambitious and believes by making his team work harder they will get superior results.
    • 8. Meet Bill
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Project manager that is older than Jack with many more battle scars. Bill is at a point in his career where he is starting to question the logic behind the way things have always been done.
    • 9. Jack and Bill meet at the water cooler
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Hey Bill, haven’t seen you in quite a while. How is your project going these days?
      Jack, you know how it is. Late, overbudget, stress, not enough time for QA. Blah, blah, blah…
    • 10. Jack tries to help
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Dude, that stinks. What are you going to do?
      I’m getting desperate. I think I’m going to try agile on my next project and see if it will work.
    • 11. Jack is in shock
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Agile! Are you crazy???
    • 12. Bill responds
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      I know it’s crazy, but I’m out of ideas. Hey, you’re the new hard-driving guy, how is your project going?
    • 13. Jack’s reality
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      (to himself) Hmmm, Maybe not as crazy as I thought if his project is in the toilet too!
      Umm… ahhh… uhhh… I mean…
      Hey, don’t change the subject here! Are you crazy???
    • 14. Group discussion
      Do you relate more to hard-driving Jack, or desperate Bill?
      As project managers do you ever feel like you are personally failing when projects are failing?
      If you have used agile in the past, why was the switch made from traditional software development processes? How did agile work for you?
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 15. Industry statistics(Software projects)
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 16. Software project success rates
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Source: The Standish Group
      Success increasing by 1.7% per year. Will not reach 50% until 2014!
    • 17. Feature use in software
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Question: What percentage of software features are NEVER used?
    • 18. Industry realities
      Most “successful” projects were deliberately over-estimated at the start (Standish – 2001)
      64% of features in products are rarely or never used (Standish – 2002)
      The average project exceeds its schedule by 63% (Standish – 2001)
      50% of project failures are due to missing or misunderstood requirements (Ravenflow – 2006)
      Executive support and customer involvement are the two biggest critical success factors in project success by far (many studies in the past 10 years)
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 19. More industry realities
      56% of defects are attributable to missing or misunderstood requirements
      82% of defect fixing time and dollars go to fixing requirements related defects
      NIST has estimated that 0.6% of the GDP is lost due to software defects
      NIST also estimates that 1/3 of that money could be saved by using a process allowing earlier detection and correction of defects
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 20. Things I sometimes ponder…
      Why do we make all important decisions on projects when we have the least information?
      Why do managers always think things will take less time than everyone else? Why do we let them estimate at all?
      Why has the software industry never improved the ability to estimate accurately?
      If we know that an average of 30% of requirements will change during a project, why do we use a process that is intolerant to change?
      Why do companies say that quality is important while internally they give QA less time than originally allocated to do their job?
      Why do developers always do the easiest things first?
      If the customer is always right, why do we only ask them their opinion AFTER we have completed the entire project?
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 21. BUT Agile is crazy!Isn’t it???
      Excuses for not using agile
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 22. We’re agile so…
      we don’t need to do documentation any more
      (more generically) we don’t need to do X because we’re agile
      developers get to decide what goes into each iteration
      we’re going to have a lot more meetings
      we don’t have to plan more than the current iteration
      we can be undisciplined because QA will catch all the errors in near real time
      Which of these have you heard? Which of these do we believe? Which of these is the worst?
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 23. No documentation
      A simple question – is this even possible?
      The correct phrase is “Just enough documentation, just in time.”
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 24. We don’t need to do X
      Again, just enough, just in time.
      It doesn’t matter what X is
      Project charter

      We MUST keep business requirements in mind. If it is required by the business for reasons outside our control, then we have to do it!
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 25. Developers pick what to work on
      Well, they do say that most myths are at least partially based in reality
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Developers don’t get to pick and choose what they want to work on
      They DO commit to what they will complete – but it is in priority order and they don’t make the priorities!
    • 26. More meetings
      Release planning – once
      Iteration planning – once per iteration
      Iteration demo/retro – once per iteration
      Daily standup – every day
      Hmm, that IS more meetings, but
      Release planning – 4 hours
      Iteration planning – 2 hours x iterations
      Iteration demo/retro – 2 hours x iterations
      Daily standup - .25 hours x iterations x days
      Total might look like: 4 + 2x5 + 2x5 + .25x5x10
      Total meeting time is 36.5 hours of meetings
      How long would we have met to analyze, design, code and test an average 3 month release with our current process?
      More importantly – would the product have been as good?
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 27. No planning
      Don’t confuse NO planning with ADAPTIVE planning!
      Would any company actually allow no big picture planning???
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Adapting as we go. Notice we still have all the items!
      Figuring it all out up front
    • 28. No discipline
      Reality check… In traditional projects of a year in length how hard are people working during the first 2 months? Does that sound disciplined?
      Planning, demos and retrospectives every two weeks and daily standups. Does that sound disciplined?
      Making a commitment to work that will be accomplished in two weeks – disciplined?
      Working in priority order – disciplined?
      Coding AND testing need to be done in order to be considered complete – disciplined?
      The heart of the matter – Code needs to pass unit tests AND acceptance tests in order to be complete. High performing teams use the phrase “Add value quickly now AND be able to add value quickly in the future!” In other words, no undisciplined hacking!!!
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 29. Myth recap
      When you hear something about agile that sounds stupid there are two possibilities:
      It’s false because someone is misunderstanding
      It’s true and agile has a fundamental flaw
      Keep in mind that it may sound “odd” which is very different from “stupid”
      No documentation required = stupid
      Teams use points (sizes) rather than hours and minutes for estimating = odd
      Remember that some VERY successful companies are using agile, and it’s highly unlikely that ALL of them are stupid
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 30. Agile basics
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 31. Agile (Scrum) roles
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Product Champion (Product Owner)
      • Owner of the prioritized product backlog
      • 32. Represents users and stakeholders when talking to team
      • 33. Represents team when talking to users and stakeholders
      • 34. Is a combo of Product Manager and BA
      Agile Project Manager (Scrum Master)
      • Facilitates meetings
      • 35. Removes impediments
      • 36. Runs interference for the team
      • 37. Helps team focus on what’s important
      • 38. Can act as a process coach and help team improve the process
      • The team that will create the product
      • 39. Includes EVERYONE that is part of product creation
      • Those that are going to use the product or have a vested interest in how it turns out
    • Complete agile process
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 40. Iteration – the basic unit of agile
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Iterations create a “product increment” of “potentially shippable software.” This means everything is working. It DOES NOT mean we can get it wrong in an iteration and then fix it all up in the next iteration!!!
    • 41. Maybe agile isn’t so crazy
      Reasons for being agile
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 42. Building a business case for agility
      Business case essentials:
      Bottom line dollars and cents
      For this business case we should discuss:
      Business value
      Customer expectations and quality
      Team dynamics
      Other improvements
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 43. Adding Business Value Quickly – A Simple Example
      Stuffing envelopes can tell us a lot about agile 
      What are the advantages of getting something released more quickly?
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 44. Delivering business value quickly
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Question: If we get rid of the 64% of software that is rarely or never used, what happens to our overall software development efforts?
    • 45. Discussion: Customer expectations
      When does the customer know what they really want in a product?
      How can we help them know earlier?
      Does that sound agile to anyone???
      Did we mention the highest value items get the most testing so quality perception is better as well?
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 46. Changes to team dynamics
      Morale improves
      Team succeeds more often
      Teams work together
      Teams empowered to succeed
      Failures are very limited
      A single iteration
      Correction happens immediately
      Team fails together so no blame
      Happens quickly rather thanbleeding to death from a papercutor finding out about problems too late!
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 47. Planning improvements
      Retrospectives for correction and improvement
      Accurate management visibility
      Better predictability leading to success
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 48. Other improvements
      Change tolerance (30% of requirements will change!)
      Due to short iterations, change is free or nearly free most of the time
      Increased collaboration
      Everyone works together to create a great product rather than all groups working in isolation
      Risks are handled earlier
      Everyone identifies risks and impediments as soon as they are noticed so there is more time to mitigate the risks and remove the impediments
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 49. Recap: Agile…
      … adds business value quickly
      while meeting customer expectations
      with high value and high quality products
      produced by teams with high morale
      through projects that are easier to plan
      even while being tolerant to change
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 50. Industry Statistics Part II(Agile projects)
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 51. What others are seeing
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 52. VersionOne Survey Results (2008)
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Survey asked people: Please try to estimate SPECIFIC IMPROVEMENTS you have actually realized from implementing Agile practices.
      Source: VersionOne 2008 State of Agile DevelopmentSurvey
      NOTE: All 2008 data is within 2% of 2007 data
      Average of 74% of agile projects completed successfully
      Biggest causes of agile project failure:
      Company philosophy or culture could not be overcome – 23%
      Lack of experience with agile – 21%
    • 53. Standish Group further results
      #5 success factor for projects is using agile methodology
      Jim Johnson from the Standish Group says:
      Agile is an important success factor because its incremental nature allows for leaving entire features or portions of features out without affecting the overall value of the project
      He also notes agile is difficult for some because of corporate culture (as also found in the VersionOne survey)
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 54. Agile is a Proven ApproachSome Agile Companies (there are MANY more)
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 55. Who is really crazy?
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 56. One big question to answer…
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      What does the data say about how crazy agile is?
    • 57. 2nd big question
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      How should you respond when someone says “Agile!? Are you crazy???
    • 58. Jack and Bill 6 months later…
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
      Hey Jack, I just heard. Sorry dude. You should have tried agile. All of my projects are actually being successful for a change!!
      Don’t rub it in. Both of my projects stunk, so I deserved it. One was on time but had all wrong features, and the other was WAAAAAAAY late.
    • 59. Take away thoughts…
      Projects in the software world are NOT completing successfully today
      Teams are trying hard
      Project Managers are trying hard
      Effort is NOT the issue (don’t be Jack!)
      There is a business case to be made for an agile process
      The world of project management is changing and you have to decide if you are going to be an agent for change, a person that reacts after change has been made, or a person that will not be a part of project management in the future.
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 60. Questions?
      Agile?! Are you crazy?
    • 61. Thank You!
      Please email comments to
      Agile?! Are you crazy?