Some ppl complain agile only works w/ highly skilled developers. Never been clear 2 me that ANY dev. method works w/o highly skilled devs.
I think the subtle distinction is that agile REQUIRES skilled developers to be successful, whereas some of the "heavier" methodologies would be better with skilled developers but don't actually require them. I also think that when we look at many of the agile successes, it would be interesting to determine whether there was any correlation between the level of skill of the developers compared to the level of skill on the non-successful and/or non-agile projects.
And taking this just a little bit further... Would a small group of skilled developers be successful regardless of the methodology? Truly skilled developers tend to be very pragmatic and will always find ways to simplify the complexity around them, so I'm sure that if you took 8 highly skilled, highly successful agile developers and stuck them on a waterfall project they would deliver a successful result, at least in terms of the customer...
What's also quite interesting about this dynamic is that once a developer "sees the light" and becomes "agile" they can't imagine going back to waterfall, despite the fact they can add immense value by being part of a waterfall project and improving the processes. There is something very selfish about this which has not yet been picked up in the mainstream... This is also possibly one of the reasons why agile suffers an identity crisis, often being regarded as a cult.
And no, I'm not advocating waterfall, I'm just wondering whether skilled developers have more impact on success compared to the methodology.