How Vendors Fall Short of True Agile Delivery
It’s not uncommon for development teams to modify agile practices. For instance, not every scrum sprint requires the same degree of planning or testing.
As an adaptive approach to software engineering, agile development practices tend to reflect specific feature requirements in the hopes of accounting for evolving customer needs. Unfortunately, some vendors use this leeway as a justification for doing whatever they want. It doesn’t help that many vendor management teams lack the knowledge or capacity to hold them to account.
Here’s an example. Imagine you asked your vendor to join you in planning a project upfront, but they countered with the suggestion that they provide estimates with every 2-week sprint. Whenever you asked them about discrepancies in how the development was going and why it didn’t seem agile, they’d offer up the excuse that certain parts of the process were agile, but others were waterfall.
This isn’t that far-fetched: Many vendors seem to want their business clients and partners to adapt to their methods instead of changing how they work in pursuit of common middle ground. Although this might not be too problematic if you were only working with one vendor, the complexity of project management increases exponentially as you try to wrangle multiple providers.
Now suppose you had contracted out different parts of a project to independent vendors. If one used sprint-oriented Scrum and the other favoured efficiency-centric Kanban, you’d be in for quite a tough time integrating their output. The situation would look even direr if you started working with other vendors who used waterfall or hybrid methods.
Your vendors should work with you and align their practices to your needs. When they don’t, it can become impossible to confirm that they’re actually doing what you paid them for. Remember, it’s not just about getting a piece of software that works but ensuring the development lifecycle meets your standards – so that the resulting product is optimally usable.