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Why the Classic Agile Model Loses Applicability and What We’ve Replaced It With

Why Agile didn't work

More and more often, the deadline and project release to production are the most important points in development. Some startups go to production even in MVP versions, and then the projects are upgraded to the operational condition.

What does this mean? It means that neither the process nor its creation are highly prioritized in the IT field nowadays, but the development speed is.

In the modern world, we can always find someone who takes a set idea, makes it perfect, and earns their first million using it. Moreover, competitors are always watching and at your heels.

The classical project and startup implementation model surely presumes the development process to be the most important part. The most popular development technique is Agile, since it has the most balanced human management model, transparent control and ensures a high degree of flexibility when alterations are necessary. However, based on my experience, I can say that over the last three years, a marked tendency toward simplifying project management and focusing on the outcome has been observed.

Is Agile really necessary to that extent, and can we find a worthy or even better alternative? Let me try to share my own point of view on this issue and tell you why Agile is not the best choice for startups.

Excessive Administrative Resources and Intermediate Links

Let us start with the main reason why many developers abandon the classic Agile – an excessive amount of time spent on process management and adherence. This technique requires personnel who will lead the process and the team, resulting in additional expenses. For startups, which are always developed using scarce resources, this is the most crucial moment.

Many documents on the table

I see an alternative in the correct team building process when each person is selected correctly and appropriately. During the last few years, there is a tendency to hire people who can manage the processes in their work area themselves while synchronizing their effort with other team members. As a result, with no intermediate links, the staff ensures the best performance on the project, and we at Lvivity have learned this from our own experience.

For the project, intermediate links specifically can be more harmful than beneficial. Let me explain why. The classic Agile model assumes key people in the project, i.e. managers. Say a scrum master is responsible for lots of important things at once, the same way as the project manager. At the same time, all responsible people are planned to be involved in the project.

A positive aspect of this development management technique is to divide work into smaller parts and distribute them among all team members. However, very often, managers make grave mistakes right at this stage and the process slows down as a result. Because of this, the project often experiences problems.

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The Talent Under the Burden of Bureaucracy

Buried talents are another disadvantage of Agile. Any team often happens to have talented developers who are ready to take on leadership and responsibilities, but the intermediate link, like the project manager or team lead, does not allow them to do so.

Creativity, and no bureucracy

Transparent information, processes, and finance are important points that are often underestimated or explicitly ignored, and that creates additional risks for the project. Bureaucracy is the main setback interfering with efficient work, not only for startups, but also for any other projects.

To make some corrections or changes to the milestone, you often have to pass through all the links from the project owner to the developer and QA engineer. It can end up in time-consuming management processes.

It’s Simple: Let People Make Their Own Decisions

As you can see, there are more than enough issues, and in some cases, they can become critical. However, we have found a solution and are sure of its practical efficiency.
Using our own experience on the projects done for our customers, our team has developed a more flexible and better process overlapping Agile, which features a lower level of bureaucracy and speeds up work processes. The right people and the right team is the winning approach.

Successful and happiness team

We have tried lots of approaches to team creation, but, for the time being, the best method is to create a team in which each developer has direct contacts with the product owner or with a project manager. Resorting to this technique allows developers to clarify all the issues directly and precisely carry out the part of work allocated to them for the shortest iteration. The open communication of all team members is also a very important aspect.

Furthermore, the most important point is that engineers have to take the initiative in their development process, and everyone should work in their proper place. This approach allows observing the progress and risks clearly and without managers, seeing who performs best in the team or which part of the project is advancing better.
This model provides high flexibility and allows making quick alterations to the project, and changing tasks and priorities without excessive bureaucracy.

It has never been a secret that bureaucracy is the most boring thing for developers, and, actually, it can demotivate talented professionals. That is why we are trying to completely remove this negative aspect from our development processes.

Lastly, the important advantage of such an approach is the budget savings. As there is no need to hire additional project management staff, you save your money and can spend it on developing additional features or marketing, which are crucial for startups.

October 17, 2018

CEO at Lvivity

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