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.

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