Sometimes Agile just doesn't work

Why? Because Agile methodologies have their boundaries. Let's take a look at the following part of the Agile manifesto: “Responding to change over following a plan”. It sounds nice and very often it works just fine. The reason behind this principle is simple: changing a few lines of code should be simple if the process is right. After all, it is just code and to change it you don't have to move mountains.

But sometimes it isn't true. Sometimes changes can be too expensive to allow them. Imagine development of an embedded device. It includes both software and hardware development. Yes, you can write code for the software part in an Agile style. You can change that code, but if you ever need a change in the already designed and produced hardware – you're in trouble. It isn't easy to change hardware. In fact, it can cost you millions in R&D and manufacturing if you haven't done extensive planning before you even started the development. And that fact contradicts the abovementioned Agile principle. To develop the right code for your hardware (which you can change to some extent), you'll need a plan. And you'll need the extensive and thorough documentation, which contradicts another Agile principle – «Working software over comprehensive documentation».

And that's just one example. What other examples of Agile limitations can you think of?

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