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Back in the “good old days” when IBM 3270 was meaningful and everyone did waterfall there was kind of a set “project management” overhead that was associated to the project. For most projects I worked on at Accenture (over fifteen years ago) we charged between 10% and 12% depending upon the size of the project and the technologies we were doing. (Hint, the larger the project the higher the overhead. See my other articles on communication costs increasing based on the number of people in the group.)
While the study in the TechBeacon article “4 DevOps secrets that separate leaders from laggards” was referring to a study of mobile developers, the numbers were so similar that I had flashbacks of 55 hour work weeks and 110 degree Fahrenheit work spaces. (It could have been hotter but the thermometer could only go that high. Here is the chart they represented:
Let me summarize it for you this way: the faster you release the less time you spend on overhead. So, if everyone released frequently we’d spend less time on overhead, more time on development and produce visible results faster.
So why hasn’t the world gone Agile? Here’s the reason:
Crotchety old men who are scared of change. Scared of progress. Scared of being “left behind”. (Contrary to popular belief, this is not a selfie, I wear glasses and, at least today, I have a touch more hair on my head.)
When you get down to it there is a plethora of anecdotal evidence and a huge stack of scientific study that shows Agile outperforms Waterfall in terms of being able to deliver value to the business faster and with a higher degree of suitability. But there are impediments. People in a position of decision-making authority are scared of Agile and the fact that there is no hard and fast plan to get to the end product. In software development, unlike bridge building, the end product is not always clearly defined. Indeed, Agile approaches software development like a sculptor approaches a block of marble. They chip away at it to reveal the underlying statue without knowing in advance all of the details. Agile explores the landscape where the software is going to be placed and figures out as it is being built all of the features and details that need to be created.
It is much more art than science.