The Agile TimeToMarket myth explanation

Each time I try to convince people to Scrum, they misunderstand the concept of shorter Time To Market, and faster delivery. I believe the reason for it, is thinking about Scrum and Agile as another kind of “silver bullet”, or magical methodology, that somehow allows people to perform twice as good as usual. Usually for our clients, shorter time to market simply means “We’ll do it faster”, which is almost every time not true.

Three days ago at Ace Conference Marc Löffler presented his idea of 7 agile myths. One of  them (beside “Agile = Silver Bullet”) is “Agile = faster” and I believe it explains one part of the problem – our clients expect that according to the iteration’s name (sprint) the new “super-whooper-methodology” will give them promised software faster. Use of Agile approach means incorporating better quality which takes time. Sadly, “faster” is usually the only criterion, so better quality of delivered solution does not count :P

Another part of this misunderstanding is assumption that software delivered with Agile will be the same as delivered via the old ways. It seems obvious, but it needs to be stretched out – if the process is implemented correctly, and requirements are not carved in stone (why would they be?), delivered software will be different than ordered. It will better fit the true needs of client. So, you won’t deliver it faster – you’ll deliver better software, both in terms of software quality, and business requirements.

The third aspect is correct usage of constant, steady delivery after each iteration. You can deliver working software after each sprint, so the most important requirements gets delivered first, long before the usual delivery time. But, as previous, it does not mean that the whole project will be finished earlier.

I believe these three parts of shorter TTM and faster delivery are often forgotten, and not explained correctly. They should be made explicit, each time Agile is mentioned, so no more myths would arise.