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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Agile Resource Allocation

For Agile methodologies to really work with the promised increase in efficiency, it's important that all participating team members be generalists rather than specialists. For some companies migrating to Agile from other traditional methodologies, this may not be the case. I have worked with companies that have well-defined and assigned roles for Business Analysts, Database Administrators, Front-end Developers, Back-end Developers, etc. When such companies move towards Agile, they face a problem of optimal resource allocation and utilization. As an example, a developer may not be productive while a DBA is creating new tables in the database and writing stored procedures. Once the DBA is done with his tasks, he may not have enough to do until the start of the next iteration. Since Agile is iterative, and iterations can't overlap, this may result in poor resource utilization and may adversely effect the overall efficiency. Before starting to implement an Agile methodology within your organization, it is important to make sure that your IT human-resource infrastructure actually supports it. While Agile may work in companies with specialized IT roles, it is definitely not designed and optimized for those scenarios.

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