Being agile can have different meanings, and it does not necessarily mean to drop everything in order to do the task that was shouted loudest or with highest priority. On the contrary, typical agile approaches aim at finishing one thing in order to be ready to think about what is important to do next.
The authors are convinced that agile approaches have many advantages on the waterfall-based proceeding that was in place during the time when they started emerging. We see organizations that have adopted agile practices in parts of their development entities or even on a broader basis. So far, we have only seen very few that are fully agile in systems engineering and also present this to the outside world. This may be due to the fact that the introduction of agile practices on an organizational level is a challenging change process.
When agile approaches are implemented partly and differently in different entities of the organization, the system architect will be affected by the differences, being a multidisciplinary agent who has to collaborate with multiple entities inside the organization. This chapter aims at showing the real-world situation of system architects today, who cannot necessarily live agile approaches according to the textbooks.
We start with a brief summary of important events in the history of agile development. We then show the potential contrast between visions and reality of agile practices that the system architect has to be prepared ...