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The Agile Sweet Spot

ConfusedAn acquaintance, who is managing a software development team was wondering whether to adopt Agile or not, since they were following the ‘traditional’ approach for a long time…

The team wanted to know how to determine whether the time is ripe for transitioning to ‘Agile’…The Stacey Matrix is a model for dealing with complexity and was proposed by Ralph Douglas Stacey. It is used to identify management decisions on two dimensions –

  • The degree of certainty
  • The level of agreement

Spectrum of Process Complexity

Using the Stacey Matrix, a “sweet spot” for Agile can usually be determined.

Stacey MatrixIn the above diagram, if a project has all requirements, technologies, etc., (Simple Project), traditional methodologies will usually suffice. In today’s environment, serious projects usually do not fall under this category.

For complicated and complex projects, predicting the outcome almost always turns out to be incorrect.  Since predictability is low, an Agile (adaptable) approach is usually preferred.  Agile works extremely well in the projects that are complicated and complex.

When requirements are unknown and people are struggling with technologies and processes (a state of anarchy), none of the well known methodologies work.  It is best to stop everything and take a deep look at what the Team is trying to achieve.  The failure rates in this area are extremely high.

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