The more I read about Google’s software development mentality, the more it makes sense from an organizational perspective.
Of course, its project management style is idealistic and relies on the company’s vast riches; and Google can also afford not to have hard launch dates. But still, the “not quite Agile, but still sort of agile” philosophy tends to work when the conditions are just right (for example: small, dedicated teams; focused tasks; and a willingness amongst everyone to give up a degree of direct control).
A number of projects I’ve worked on ran this way and all managed to hit their deadlines. Or, maybe it was just a coincidence.
But when a project isn’t operating agile-esquely, the proverbial China starts breaking leaving the matador looking foolish, the audience disappointed, and the shopkeeper with a big mess to clean-up.
(And yes, the comments are broken again. Soon…soon.)