I just saw reference on the Agile Articles Yahoo Group to an interesting article called Process: The Fourth Dimension by Alistair Cockburn.
Alistair provides a hypothetical estimate of 30% efficiency improvement if a team not already doing Agile development were to implement some core practices, including:
- Getting people into a shared workspace;
- Replacing detailed requirements with quick documentation and talking (e.g. using Stories); and
- Doing requirements, design and coding concurrently.
Alistair points out that some project leaders have been using these techniques for decades when they’ve needed to get things done. Craig Larman provides concrete examples of this in his book Agile and Iterative Development?A Manager’s Guide.
I also found it interesting that Toyota was able to make similar improvements many times over several decades, so there’s always room for improvement no matter how good you think you are.