Agile development has gained mainstream traction among software development companies due to its people-focused approach and promise for a speedy finish, but this strategy has led to hidden downfalls when not properly implemented.
- Requires active client involvement
To complete the sprints and the project, clients need to continuously communicate their requirements to the developers. There will also be a need for constant user testing. This can be time-consuming and costly for the client. It is a big commitment for the duration of the project.
- Potential for scope creep
Since this method involves a lack of predictability, it puts the team and client at risk for scope creep. New requirements can emerge, while existing requirements can evolve at the end of every sprint. Without a defined outcome, these projects can seem never-ending.
- Lack of predictability
It can be hard to determine exactly how long the project will take and how much it will cost using the Agile method. Companies that need their project done within a specific time frame and budget could put themselves at risk.
- Less documentation
There will be minimal documentation associated with each sprint and requirements because the needs are discussed on a sprint-by-sprint basis. This can make it difficult for new team members to integrate into the team and understand functionality.
- Requires a learning curve
There is often a lack of understanding about the Agile process methodology, creating a repeated learning curve for clients. To communicate requirements effectively clients will need to go through training. Without thorough client participation, the project can easily fall off track.
- Requires experienced programmers
Successfully implementing the Agile methodology requires years of experience and a senior development team. Developers are in client-facing roles, which may take some time and training. The nature of sprints for the development team can be intense, and it is hard to determine the effort required in the beginning.
While the Agile method (like all methods) possesses several downfalls, it can provide ample benefits for clients and companies who implement it correctly. It is up to the company to decide which type of method fits best with their business needs and processes.