Will Agile become the methodology of choice for large-scale software projects?

Late last year, Gartner predicted that by 2012 Agile development methods would be utilized in 80 percent of all software development projects. While small-to-mid-sized companies have witnessed vast successes from using an Agile approach, there is now a growing popularity in applying those same standards to enterprise-level software development efforts.

However, large-scale implementations may involve more comprehensive organization which in turn may influence flexibility and adaptability inherited in Agile. From this point do we need special practices to fit Agile for large-scale engagements?

Appreciate your insights as well as real-world case-studies of large-scale Agile implementations here in comments or join our discussion in LinkedIn

Please, also read our latest work - Agile and Nearshore - Formula to Successful Software Development


Aad 't Hart said...

The question is not will larger companies adopt agile development, but instead it should be when. I would say as quickly as possible, because only with agile development methods you can maximize the value delivered to your customers.

Someone once told me how to eat an elephant: In small steaks! It doesn't really matter how large your project is, you can always divide it in smaller chunks and deliver in pieces. Of course in larger organizations dealing with larger projects this requires excellent collaboration between the various teams, but you need that anyway and agile methods like scrum help you to create the necessary transparency and frequent reporting to support the collaboration between the various teams.

As a final note: You can think about agile development forever, but you can also just do it and use the self improving mechanism of methods like scrum to constantly improve yourself.

Note: Not only software projects can benefit from agile methods as I realized a while back: http://blog.aadjemonkeyrock.com/2010/06/scrum-for-big-infrastructure-projects.html

Sergey Lesnikov said...

Thanks for the comment. Nice example with the elephant. Continuing here I think the question is how best you can organize the process of eating so the portions will be appropriate and at the end flash will be eatable "thinking of product fit to market requirements", as you mentioned transparency and organization are key in large-scale projects, so companies need to be ready. In our research Agile and Nearshore we presented an example with Borland's Agile Journey where the company had to fully reconsider its approach to software development before make it successful. Thanks!

Live Chat said...

Of course larger-sized companies will need to apply a different model than will small-to-mid-sized companies, but as they settle in on a set of best practices, they will be able experience similar benefits. Communication is key; one way larger businesses may be able to effectively integrate Agile would be by imitating relevant practices of a smaller business in appropriate segments of their company.