CIOs should be aware that although agile software development is cheaper in the short term, the costs are often hidden in the long term maintenance.
This was the warning from analyst David Norton at the Gartner BPM Summit in London yesterday.
Agile development offers an alternative to traditional software development structures, such as waterfall or cascade.
Agile development is often perceived to be a cost-effective solution, as small changes are typically added in to respond to a dynamic environment. This compares with traditional approaches where development may be done on a large scale.
However, Norton said that because the initial costs are relatively small, CIOs often forget there are costs in the long term.
"I was speaking to a CIO about agile development and I asked him how he felt about it in his organisation. His response was, 'I wish I had never heard of it'," said Norton.
"Agile had solved his problems of productivity and not being responsive to the business, but two years into it and he had hundreds of different solutions that duplicate code and requirements, and his asset reuse had taken a nose dive," he added.
"This is one of the main things we need to think about – how do we use and leverage the benefits of agile? But also, how does it adapt in the long term?"
Norton went on to describe some "horrific figures", which suggest that only eight per cent of capital and operating agile development costs are in the initial delivery of applications. The remaining 92 per cent is found in maintaining the development over the next 10 to 15 years.
"This is a something that CIOs need to be aware of and is something we haven't really focused on in the agile community," said Norton.