One of the tenets of Agile is that quality software can be written via short iterations and refactoring. However, the opinion of most developers I know who are not "Agile developers" is that there are times when you need a relatively long architect, design, and initial implementation phase that can't be broken into two week iterations. If they are right, then there are a class of problems that Agile either can't solve, or can't solve as effectively as others methods.
I realize that the Agile community tends to refute this claim. I have to admit that I am skeptical though. I am pretty confident that there are times where you need a design/architect phase that doesn't fit into a short iteration cycle. However, it very well may be that the class of problems where this is true, doesn't actually occur often in practice, so it doesn't matter.
This feel like a study into this could be the basis for PhD thesis. Does anyone know if this has been rigorously studied?