Can anybody do agile?

I'm a fan of lean/agile practices but, like most people who call themselves fans, I've never actually played the game. Given that my knowledge of agile comes from the bleachers I'm a little wary of offering opinions, but I'm going to wade carefully into the waters anyway.

I've been pondering the question for a while "Can anybody do agile?" I have a suspicion that for agile-type practices to work well you need individuals specifically geared toward that type of development (or who have been mentored in it).

This may be the reason that there are disparities in the reports of how well these techniques deliver in real life ("oh we tried --insert agile flavor here-- but it didn't work"); it's possible that good developers under waterfall may not always turn out to be good developers under more agile practices.

Fundamentally these practices address people problems and I suspect that they can depend a lot more on the chemistry of the group and the quality of the members than the process itself (however well crafted it may be). Just as one tainted ingredient in a chemistry experiment can skew or ruin the results, likewise, so can one poorly chosen member in a team.

I know this applies to all teams, but I think the speed and connectedness of agile teams makes it much more critical to them.

Anyway, to those who are actually doing agile: please forgive the sideline ponderings of a fan who just wants to be in the game. Hit a home run for me!

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