Is Agile Faster?

The word “agile” implies that these methods are faster. While it is very difficult to confirm or reject this hypothesis, there are two main reasons that help with the “speed” of Agile projects:

  • Changes: applying changes in the middle of a Predictive project takes more time and effort than in an Agile project.
  • Scope: Predictive projects are dependent on an upfront definition of scope, and when it’s time to define the scope, people who are responsible become too creative and add features that are never, or rarely, used. Based on some studies, more than half of the features in an average piece of software are like that. The emergence of scope in Agile projects helps reduce this problem to a certain degree, which in turn, can create a simpler and shorter project.Agile Faster

Is It Only for IT Projects?

As you’ve noticed, I’m assuming that Agile projects are all IT developments. You’ve also seen that the Agile Manifesto and Agile Principles are talking about software. So, the question is, are Agile methods limited to IT development projects?

I’d like to answer like this:

  • I, arguably, believe that Agile is not applicable to all projects. Some people disagree and believe that it can be used in all projects (usually people who have no experience in “other” types of projects).
  • The absolutely best application of Agile is in IT development.
  • It may be possible to use Agile in some other types of projects; in my experience, with many difficulties. However, you may be able to isolate some parts of a large project and successfully run that with Agile, given that everything is suitable for it.
  • What I’ve said up until now has been about projects. As far as programs are concerned, all programs should be run with Adaptive methods; no exception! However, the type of Adaptive methods you can use for a program is different from those you use for projects (e.g. Scrum).

That’s for practical and learning purposes. When it comes time to answer questions in any Agile related exam, the right answer is “Agile (or any specific Agile method that is the subject of the exam) is not limited to IT projects” and probably “Agile is the only thing that can save the world”.

Want to know more, get the Agile Scrum Handbook or read more in one of the other Agile Scrum Hanbook blogs.


Nader K. Rad
Project Management Author, Speaker, and Adviser

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