Winter is coming and next year's projects are being planned feverishly. Many projects have an exact budget and roadmap. When developing in an agile way, a prerequisite for the success of a project is a certain freedom to change plans on the fly, ie agilely. Too tight budget and too strict project management through a roadmap can destroy agility and the project will be guided by the waterfall model.

By definition, agility means changing direction in response to a stimulus. Agile methods seek to nurture this property. When it’s not quite clear what or how to do, then do it agilely and change direction if you don’t get it right at the first time. Agile methods are at their best when the direction or way forward is not clear at the start of the project.

Changing direction must be controlled. In agile software development methods, the stimulus to change direction is provided by continuous feedback. Based on the feedback, we know how to choose a new direction better and get closer to the desired result. In order to give feedback, the first condition is knowledge of where we are now and what has been done. In software projects, a good demo provides just that. When a demo is done with working software in the right environment, stakeholders and product management can see how the software works and whether it responds to customer needs correctly. In this case, they are able to tell constructively whether the software is working as desired or whether it is doing something completely different. With PowerPoint or presenting the code, this won't be achieved.

If you need to change direction, you should do so as early as possible. The further the project progresses, the more time and costs are incurred. The direction can and must be changed late if an understanding of the issue is emerging in the final stages. A great example of this is the termination of Supercell’s Rush Wars in early November. Supercell ended the game despite there was done a soft launch in four markets already.


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