Last Wednesday, Dani Tobler of Zühlke gave his take on the virtues of agile and non-agile (i.e. RUP) approaches to product management.
Dani brings his experience developing embedded software and teaching students at a “Fachhochschule” (Technical University) to the table. Applications for which electronics, mechanics and software all play are role. Incremental releases and feature driven development seem less natural to the world of embedded systems.
An interesting analogy: Project planning compared to mountain climbing. If you are trying to climb Mount Everest, you plan, staff and budget quite differently than if you are planning family trip to nearest park (in our case, the Uetliberg). So the approach to large SW Project might/could/should be different than for small projects.
He presented decision criteria which Zühlke used to use for deciding whether Agile was appropriate: Size, Criticality, Team Skills, Change and Culture. And proceeded to debunk all of them. Only two cases where agile is really challenged:
Agility brings discipline and effective communication into the development process. RUP offers proven practices (e.g. the development phases, risk first development strategy which do have value.
The discussion afterward was as usual spirited and interesting, including a discussion of complex vs. complicated systems (which I will attach the German language correspondence in a comment).