Agile was and still is the seemingly latest and greatest when it comes to development team setups. But what is Agile? Best to ask Martin Fowler, he certainly knows what he’s talking about.
And I don’t doubt that agile setups can work, but the problem is that you need an extremely highly motivated and highly skilled team of people who want to work together for the greater good. Now the majority of companies doesn’t have these people, and most won’t be able to attract them either. Once mediocre, always mediocre.
I’ve seen companies trying to implement agile, often enough without any further resources, or just based on one online article. Clearly that’s not how it can work. Many call themselves agile because they just don’t do planning ahead, specifications etc., but that’s also not agile, you’ll always have to plan, and architect, and think.
The other problem is that many customers won’t be willing to jump onto the agile bandwagon, meaning to work without clear costs / estimates, timelines etc. Same goes for Boards. And I can see why, as you need to have a pretty good evangelist to be able to convince people how well this can work. And that’s someone who read more than an article, or even a book about agile.
Without prior experience you just should not try to become agile by yourself, you either pay for experts (most companies won’t be willing to do that) or hire one. But there just aren’t many out there, I’d say, and even if you find one, they won’t want to work for a non-agile company.
All in all, agile is just another too often used buzzword without much meaning, similar to Cloud computing.