The word agile has caught on as a buzzword in the world of product development. The great thing about buzzwords is that they attract a lot of attention. Agile has been touted as the next best thing in the mystical world of project management with many believing that it is the logical rep...
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| Thursday, 4 April 2013
The word agile has caught on as a buzzword in the world of product development. The great thing about buzzwords is that they attract a lot of attention. Agile has been touted as the next best thing in the mystical world of project management with many believing that it is the logical replacement for the older waterfall method. There is a however, in there, as waterfall methods do hold value for certain projects.
Even though agile methodologies have been around for nearly two decades now, interest in agile approaches has only recently increased as companies seek better ways to compete with their competitors through driving efficiency and becoming more effective. The recent downturn in the global economy has provided companies with a catalyst for increasing its adoption of agile as everyone is trying to do things faster, whilst at the same time showing economies of scale through doing more with less.
As a result, agile methodologies like; Scrum, Extreme Programming, Lean Software Development, Crystal, Dynamic Systems Development, Adaptive Software Development, and others, have attracted the attention many executives who are looking for approaches to make product development faster, more reliable, and more satisfying to the end user.
Waterfall on the other hand is a more sequential and logical approach to development. It requires intensive upfront planning to ensure that intricate details are accounted for so that they are not discovered half-way through the project. When executed well, this approach can lead to a faster product launch, a customer that understands what is being launched before development begins, and project budgets that can be estimated more accurately.
The waterfall method also comes with its own set of problems though. When dealing with a business that continually evolves and requires adaption, it can lead to scope-creep, budget overruns, or a product launch that does not fulfil the customers evolving needs. Re-entering the waterfall process again and again can cause a project to overrun its time and cost budget. So lets explore the characteristics of these two approaches so that we can understand the differences and similarities.
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