Friday, December 14, 2012


I was recently talking to a Product Manager of a multi-national  company who visited  India for a few days..
'We are re-creating and re-launching my product'  He told me in quite an upbeat tone.

'What do you mean?'
'You  know the product I manage...we had end of life'ed  it last year...the technology is pretty now we are working on creating a new product with pretty much the same features with  better GUI etc.  and more important, using new technologies'

'That sounds interesting...'
' is ...our version one is due next fall and we have so much to do...' He was definitely relishing the challenge.

Obviously...your previous product evolved over ten to twelve years and had tons of features...' Having been in similar situations, I  knew exactly what the guy had been facing.

'That  is true ...but in version one due next year, we are only putting in the bare minimum capabilities.... features which are pretty fundamental to any product in this no rocket science there...We have hired a small development team in India...mostly young enthusiastic  guys from IITs  with 2-3 years experience '
'So you have the specs pretty much written down and shoved down their throat already?'

'Not exactly...we are  following Agile methodology for development - you know... Scrum..'
'What?!' I exclaimed.

'Why are you surprised? Our organization demands us to use Scrum for all development'
'Why do you use Agile when you have an 'open and shut' case on requirements, do not have any role for the customer in version one and to top it all, the development is done by a bunch of inexperienced engineers?' I asked.

'What has all that to do with Agile and Scrum?' He got aggressively defensive.
'Because  Agile could break your product development with the conditions above. I would have  suggested  some form of waterfall with an iterative approach thrown in, for your version one...'

'What do you mean?'
'My friend,  Scrum is not a panacea for all problems. AGILE IS FRAGILE when used in the wrong places...'  I rested my case.


Anonymous Vivek Kakaria said...

Great Article, pointing out how the Right solution is applied to the Wrong Problem/Situation.
Would like to speak with you about your experiences.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous George said...

Agree. This is a case where agile has gone too far. Probably better to spec and design the whole thing and deliver in parts. My guess is we don't know the whole story behind this decision.

We are launching a product called this week - a place where a business user can spec the entire application without worrying about programming - writing use cases, wireframing etc. Hopefully tools like this will swing the pendulum back to reason.

3:57 AM  

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