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Deliver products on time and under budget with agile development

Another thought crossed my mind later today after posting Agile Development ranks #18 on CNN. CNN writes:

Agile also has a reputation for enabling managers to deliver products on time and under budget

That claim is a bit dangerous in my opinion. The idea of agile is definitely not to deliver something faster nor cheaper. The idea is to develop software in a way that allows the team to better understand the problem domain, to do knowledge crunching, as Eric Evans calls it in his book about DDD. It is about better quality. It is about integrating change instead of following a construction plan.

The outcome business people should expect from agile is a better solution that is more suited for their business or gives them a competitive advantage due to the input from the developers. Developers can be quite good at finding ways to streamline an existing business, because they are logic experts and not follow the same old patterns as domain experts tend to do, because they have grown up in a specific industry.

In the end agile is not about saving money or faster delivery of results. It's about higher quality, better solutions and early delivery of prototypes for the same amount of money.