Agile Development Is Slow To Show?

agile software development - slow to show?I was very interested to read this blog post by Ben Alfree, “I’m a slow starter“.

In his article, Ben describes how agile development makes things slow to start off with, but pays back in the end.

Actually my experience is the extreme opposite…

I have a lot of experience in traditional waterfall projects as well as in agile projects. In my experience of waterfall projects, typically the user/customer doesn’t see anything very useful for a fairly long time.

Only when the analysis has been done in full, the design completed, the code implemented and the testing largely completed, does the customer get their hands on any working software. They might get demos, but this isn’t the same as using working features, albeit in an incomplete product.

By contrast, in agile projects, some working features are delivered in early iterations. The user/customer is actively involved and sees the software develop throughout the duration of the project, from the outset.

As a result, I am slightly puzzled why we might have such different experiences? Your view on this topic would be gratefully received – please comment about your experience below. Does agile start slow for the user/customer, or provide them with early visibility?


3 Responses to “Agile Development Is Slow To Show?”

  1. bcarlso says:

    First off, my experience follows yours.

    The only thing I could imagine that makes it feel “slow” for the customer would be in gathering the requirements. I suppose if I put my customer hat on and was able to elaborate on the requirements in a series of interviews spanning over 3 months and have prototype screens, etc. I may get the perception that it is moving fast. (Until, of course, 15 months from now when IT is asking me to slip the date or cutting back testing because “we’ve got a lot of confidence in the codebase” and the deadline is fast approaching)

  2. pklipp says:

    My experience is the same as yours. I’ve been running agile teams for four years now, building mostly web 2.0 applications. Typically, a client sees something working within three weeks of signing a contract with me.

  3. Yves Hanoulle says:

    I think you are talking about two different things.
    In agile project the customers sees much quicker some vqlue.
    The developer himself(herself) has the feeling he goes slower.
    That is when you add tests, it goes slower to develop. Both because you have to add the tests, and because the tests tell you you are not finished yet.
    When you pairprogram for the first time you have to explain a lot, …
    So the first few days it feels like you are working slower.
    If the developer keeps to the agile practises and uses them all the time, it could take about a week before the advantages kick in.
    Without good support some people might have already given up.

Leave a Reply

What is 4 + 2 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
Please do this simple sum so I know you are human:)

There are 101 ways to approach anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”


“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”


“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”


“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”


“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”


“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”


“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”


“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”


“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”


“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”


“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”