Lose 25% of Developers When Moving To Agile?!

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I attended a very interesting web meeting today about SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) and Agile Development with the Burton Group – a consultancy specialising in Enterprise Architecture.

They explained all the advantages of SOA and Agile Development and why they are such cool things to be doing. I asked what the main pitfalls were in their experience and I heard a very interesting comment.

They said that changing Developers’ mindset for Agile Development was one of the hardest things to do and a challenge that is often under-estimated. I’ve certainly seen this challenge first hand, but was very surprised to hear their view.

In their experience, they say you can expect to lose anything up to 25% of your Developers in moving to Agile Development; as it’s just not an approach that suits everyone.

I must admit my experience is rather different. Whilst I have found educating Developers and Team Leaders (and Business people) to adapt to a different mindset takes time, actually most seem to embrace the concepts and are excited by the approach.

By contrast, I have found most tension comes with Project Managers, as it’s fundamentally different to the methodology they’re used to (invariably based on PRINCE2/Waterfall), and even more so Testers who like to have a lot more clarity about what they’re testing than Agile Development usually provides.


See also: 10 Key Principles of Agile Development