Many reasons exist as to why organizations opt to adopt an agile approach. Some hope for more successful products or to increase job satisfaction of team members while others hope for an increase in productivity and/or a reduced time to market. Others choose to adopt agile to improve quality or heighten collaboration between business people and developers, or perhaps some combination of the above benefits.  

Despite these benefits, there are always going to be naysayers. In this article, we aim to debunk some of the myths about agile product development.  

Myth #1: Agile is Just for Software Development 

It is true that Scrum is the oldest agile approach but its origins are actually in physical product development. Some of the original Scrum projects were cameras, photocopiers and a car by Honda.  

Today, agile is used for numerous forms of product development, ranging from physical products to software and services. Agile is also being used by: 

  • Case and workload management for attorneys 
  • Plans and execution of marketing team campaigns 
  • Wedding planning for couples 
  • Organizational management for senior leadership 

Additionally, any project that is complex and unique and hasn’t been done fifteen times before is well suited for agile. Agile works great with many kinds of products – software is just one type. 

Myth #2: Stakeholders Can Just Introduce Change Whenever they See Fit 

Actually, this myth is one that is mostly believed by stakeholders themselves but this isn’t always best for a company. Members of the development team understand this – introducing change at the wrong time can be costly.  

Think about ordering food at a restaurant. First, you order a steak, then you decide right away that you would rather have a big juicy burger. No cost for you to change your mind at this time. But what if you order the steak, it is made and then you change your mind? There is a good chance that you will have to pay extra.  

If a stakeholder introduces change at the right time, it can be beneficial or have little to no cost but introduced at the wrong time and it can cost a pretty penny.  

Just because you are agile does not mean you can eliminate every cost of stakeholders initiating change, but good agile teams are able to often reduce the cost of change, no matter when the change is introduced. This can be done in ways such as:  

  • Small product backlog items 
  • Finishing each backlog as quickly as possible 
  • Short iterations 

Myth #3: Agile Teams Don’t Plan 

The truth is, most top-notch agile teams do plan – but their planning is less visible than that of traditional projects because agile teams don’t do as much planning up front. Rather, good agile teams plan in smaller and recurring activities, always ensuring that their plans line up with the realities of the situation at hand. 

Many other myths exist surrounding agile product development. What myths have you run into in your organization?