Have you ever been faced with a project, feature or requirement which initially caused you to ask how an Agile process could possibly be applied?  Maybe it seemed too complex, too many moving parts, or simply too big.  If so, let me say – this should be an immediate red flag!

After facing this scenario on multiple projects (some before Agile was well understood) and considering the outcomes and challenges experienced, I have come to appreciate ever more clearly how this response should be an immediate warning sign that Agile is exactly the process needed to deliver successfully.  Recall that “successful delivery” is not just about date but delivering the right release. 

The reality is those projects which seem the most daunting and complex, likely have a significant number of unknowns (or details).  These might be technical, feature, usability – but clearly the simple fact that you do not yet understand or it seems too big opens the door wide to leveraging Agile to ensure the best right product is delivered as soon as practical.  While most of us can appreciate it is not possible to resolve all “unknowns” upfront, when not managed properly these unknowns when compounded can be big factor in a projects failure.

Leveraging Agile will create an environment which helps give all stakeholders improved visibility as a complex project unfolds.  Considering these projects rarely go as originally expected (either by choice or by necessity) – this transparency should help ensure the right participants have ownership in the ultimate outcome.

Don’t become a victim to the false belief a project is “too big” or “too complex” – push to leverage Agile!  Even if you are getting pressure to fix a date & cost – you need Agile and your team will likely benefit, so maybe suggest a trial run of a few iterations.

If you are an Agile expert or been through a similar situation, I would love to hear from you including any lessons learned.

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