Disadvantages of Agile

While the level of flexibility in Agile is usually a positive, it also comes with some trade-offs. It can be hard to establish a solid delivery date, documentation can be neglected, or the final product can be very different than originally intended.

Here are some of the disadvantages of Agile:

  • Planning can be less concrete: It can sometimes be hard to pin down a solid delivery date. Because Agile is based on time-boxed delivery and project managers are often reprioritizing tasks, it’s possible that some items originally scheduled for delivery may not be complete in time. And, additional sprints may be added at any time in the project, adding to the overall timeline.
  • Team must be knowledgeable: Agile teams are usually small, so team members must be highly skilled in a variety of areas. They also must understand and feel comfortable with the chosen Agile methodology.
  • Time commitment from developers: Agile is most successful when the development team is completely dedicated to the project. Active involvement and collaboration is required throughout the Agile process, which is more time consuming than a traditional approach. It also means that the developers need to commit to the entire duration of the project.
  • Documentation can be neglected: The Agile Manifesto prefers working software over comprehensive documentation, so some team members may feel like it’s less important to focus on documentation. While comprehensive documentation on its own does not lead to project success, Agile teams should find the right balance between documentation and discussion.
  • Final product can be very different: The initial Agile project might not have a definitive plan, so the final product can look much different than what was initially intended. Because Agile is so flexible, new iterations may be added based on evolving customer feedback, which can lead to a very different final deliverable.