Similar experiences here, although I don't think it's "become" a dirty word in some circles as much as it was always distrusted.
From my experience as a 'client', consultants love it, and some will willingly use it as an excuse for shortcuts, but I think as a client you have to just demand what deliverables you expect. If you don't request documentation, don't expect to get any! As long as you get what you want from the process, does it really matter how the sausage factory works?
I think the real story behind Agile, Waterfall, etc etc is that - they are all capable of great results if you have smart, motivated people in a cohesive team with good leadership and supporting structures in place.
Despite conventional wisdom, people were writing pretty amazing (for the day) and high quality software back in the 70s and 80s - quite often under a formal process with a lot of accompanying documentation and traditional project management. That's because they had smart, talented and motivated people doing the work - both in coding *and* management.
Getting off my hobby horse... my experience has been that the Agile philosophy is pretty incompatible with a heavily regulated and audited corporate environment. Auditors demand documentation, sometimes just for the sake of having it (how often do those documents get carefully reviewed?). I know there have been attempts to map agile processes to those kinds of environments, but honestly it tends to smack of desparation and square pegs in round holes.
You can't front up to a PWC consultant and say "oh, but you ain't gonna need it!" when they're reporting back to the board of your most important client.
Having said that, I love working in small, self-directed teams with clearly defined deliverables and close contact with stakeholders. Who doesn't? But it's not always compatible with all projects and all corporate environments.
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