At least in Chile many clients want to check Agile starting with test projects before adopting Agile in the whole company.
For me, the best approach is to start with Lean in order to remove the waste (middle management for instance) and then jump to Agile.
By the way, everytime that clients request my service as Agile Coach for testing Agile in real life, they asked me the same question:
Which projects are best suited to Agile?
Considering what I have seen in many clients there are three criterias:
- Urgency: it means if the project presents an aggressive deadline that will cost to pay fines (or there is the same product or feature in the market released by a competitor) in case you won’t be able to release the product or feature.
- The high degree of complexity: if the project is simple or similar to others that the company did waterfall works well because you can use your former knowledge. However, if there is a lack of expertise about the domain of the project Agile will work better because you can deliver quickly a few user stories and validate them.
- Innovation: when the company wants to invest money and effort on innovating and check if there are enough clients available to pay for the product Agile is the best approach. In fact, you can take advantage of Lean, using MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to validate if the new product has early adopters or if it is necessary to adapt and adjust the MVP. This approach is followed by Google: Google Glass is one of the best examples where Google gave it to a few clients to test on the streets of New York and California as well. Google gets real feedback investing a few dollars (Google has not to invest in marketing or advertising for instance). At this time, Google (and other companies) are testing DriverLess Car that as I know needs different regulations (which it is a very controversial issue) and has to be tested many times on different scenarios before getting the public approval.
Last but not least, clients have to accept that working with Agile means they have to change their mindset that sounds easier than it is.