I am so sick of listening to people propagate the myth that agile methods don't scale. Guess what everyone, scaling software development is hard! Regardless of approach or methodology. I am not going to waste your or my time quoting all the well know (but somewhat outdated studies), but suffice it to say that the success or failure of a software development effort correlates pretty damn well with the size of the effort. So if its gotta be big, its gonna be hard. Count on it.
And that’s why one of the most important things we do with agile development efforts is to decompose them into smaller chunks. Ideally, incrementally delivering to our customers production ready capabilities rather than embarking on the classic 24-month death march to preordained failure and/or obsolescence.
Ok. I feel better now.
For those edge cases where the minimum marketable set of features translates to a large software development effort, lets be smart about it and make sure we’ve got the right people, processes, and tools in place so we have a better chance at success! I'll have some follow-up posts to my blog under the "Scaling Agile" category with specific techniques agile teams can use to scale their agile development efforts.