In the May 11, 2010 edition of Government Computer News, contributor Michael Daconta advised government IT managers to be wary of agile methods in his article, “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of Agile Programming.” I’d like to present a different point of view from the one taken by Mr. Daconta – proposing that IT managers should consider an Agile method for any software project where risk is a significant issue.
In the well-known book, “Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects” by DeMarco and Lister, the authors call out five major project risks:
- Schedule Flaws
- Requirements Inflation
- Specification Breakdown
- Under Performance
Each and every one of these project risks is directly addressed by specific practices in one or more of the Agile methods, and also reflected in the four guiding Agile principles laid out in the Agile Manifesto. This article will only look at a couple of these risks and how the Agile methods address them – a fuller discussion is available elsewhere in a series of articles beginning with “Agile and the 5 Risks of Software Project Management – Introduction”.