SSDC has it's first certified scrum-master (stand up Jon Conway), so I thought it might be a good idea get our teeth into Agile it and give it a shake. I'm not going to describe any of it, go get the books or check out wikipedia.
Here also is some more material that's well work a look.
In typical style I am not completely sold, some of the language almost completely puts me off. It feels monetised and corporate. I can't stand company mission statements and it feels a bit like that. It's as if by talking the talk we don't have to knuckle down and do the hard work.
I've said before that I think LabVIEW is the original Agile language, I also think that our way of working is a reasonable compromise. It's not dogmatically Agile, it's not completely plan driven. Consider the following image based on the rather excellent (and short) book Balancing Agility and Discipline.
From this we can see that where the considerations are nearer the centre it favours Agile methods, whereas when we start moving out a more plan driven approach is needed.
Note: on Personnel for level 1 think CLAD/CLD for Level 2 think CLA, for Level 3 think CLA with a lot of project experience, the Boehm/Turner book classifies Level 3 as a very rare resource, it also splits 1a and 1b and -1 as levels.
I would add that as you travel through a project there are aspects that would benefit from being more plan-driven and other times where an Agile approach is definitely the way to go. For most of our projects we go in hard with prototyping, design reviews and iterate until we're happy we have collected a sufficient amount of requirements (the requirements shift is high at this point). Then the customer interaction naturally reduces as we knuckle down and do the hard architectural work. At this point in the project the requirements shift will be low. The next stage is commonly the Beta stage and we tend to try and hit this stage as early as possible, this is because the requirements shift begins to increase as the users actually start using the system. The effort you have put in prior to this creating a decent flexible, configurable back-end will now pay off coping with this ramp-up in requirements feedback. This is pretty predictable for a majority of our projects.
I've left quite a lot unsaid as it's a large topic and I know that Agile has vastly improved project delivery in many industries, but that's not comparing like for like. I would bet that very few LabVIEW projects are built using large teams where a customer does not see anything working for years. This is the environment that Agile has thrived in.
In short I like the adjective "agile" when used to describe a nimble way to run projects. I dislike the noun "Agile" where it is a commercial commodity to be sold as a self-help silver-bullet.