Agile Development Is Slow To Show?

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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?