Agile and Changing Requirements – Does it Work Always ?

During the last couple of years Agile has gained a lot of popularity. The biggest reason for adopting to agile frameworks is the ability to introduce changes. Fast iterations and changes have been the key reasons for high adoption rates into the development community.

Consider a client’s project where you have a already in a SPRINT. But client comes and wants to change a requirement which is a user story which is part of the current SPRINT. What do you do ?

If you are using SCRUM then you are covered by the framework as no changes can be made after the SPRINT begins. But what about the customer he doesn’t know the framework he only knows AGILE means changes and he can make changes. The changing requirements could cause a great trouble to your team, project and even the organization. If The user story thats in the SPRINT then you must have put great amount of your team’s effort into including planning and dev time.  So does it work, Agile and Changing Requirements ? 

You can agree to client and accept his changed requirements but it does cost your organization some money.  You can compare this to the following analogy. You go to a restaurant and order some appetizer and a main course.  The waiter serves you with the appetizers first and you start working on it. After two minutes you change your mind and change your dish for the main course, though the kitchen chef must have already started working on your main course. Pretty sure the restaurant  will replace the dish for you in good faith. Now you do the same thing over and over again. The restaurant is incurring extra cost just because of this which you are exploiting in name of good faith and best practices.

The restaurant will have to take some steps in order to avoid such situation and similarly you should also employ some steps to avoid extra costs for requirements change though still using AGILE.  Being AGILE is wonderful in its own but it brings downsides such as this but this is not the end of the world you cannot stop using AGILE. All of the problems can be overcome by smart planning. As part of your negotiations you can come to terms with clients  we are AGILE and we welcome changes  but changes after a certain point are hard to implement and impact the software. So the changes will be paid and cannot be free always.

Agile and change management work but only if you set and agree on common terms with your clients and have already planned how to deal with change management situations.

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