Question: What has been the business side’s response to it [agile]?
Generally the response has been initial skepticism and reluctance, followed by acceptance and finally enthusiasm in those cases where they are involved properly.
The initial skepticism and reluctance spring from the increased frequency of their time commitment, and the smaller amount of documentation available to review and approve. These perspectives soon fade away when they realize they have something better to review and react to than documentation – actual working product. They also discover that the frequent interactions actually improve the chances that they will get exactly what they want.
The acceptance turns to enthusiasm when they are fully included in the delivery team and start experiencing the ability to revise the overall product backlog as well as the opportunity to start using increments of the product, where it makes sense, before the entire product is complete.
Of course if the business is held at arms length by the delivery team, this last phase may not happen, and the business side may never even get to acceptance, instead feeling that things have not really changed and they are still being left out in the dark with respect to what is happening with the product.