Tips & Tools of the Trade : Can agile and waterfall effectively co-exist?

Can agile and waterfall effectively co-exist? Review the tips below to help your organisation develop ways for them to do so: As an agile practitioner, communicate with waterfall stakeholders about how you’d like to work together. Answer their questions about agile, and ask for their help in ma...

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Tips & Tools of the Trade : Can agile and waterfall effectively co-exist?

| Thursday, 4 April 2013

Can agile and waterfall effectively co-exist? Review the tips below to help your organisation develop ways for them to do so:

  1. As an agile practitioner, communicate with waterfall stakeholders about how you’d like to work together. Answer their questions about agile, and ask for their help in making the relationship as pain-free as possible. The executive sponsor should be part of the initial discussion, to share their commitment to the process, their dedication to removing roadblocks, and the importance of each team’s involvement.
  2. The waterfall requirements of the project should become stories in the agile team’s backlog. Include waterfall stakeholders in the agile planning meetings, so that everyone understands what qualifies as barely sufficient deliverables, what assumptions the teams are making, and what dependencies exist.
  3. In the review and retrospective held at the end of each iteration; analyse the benefits and challenges you’ve just experienced and make recommendations on how to improve the experience in the next iteration. Again, be sure to include the waterfall stakeholders.
  4. Executive and middle management should create their own prioritised backlog of transition issues they need to focus on, implementing corporate process and organizational change iteratively and incrementally.
  5. Don’t try to fix everything before you start agile adoption. Just dive right in as you will find a way to work within the current constraints. Use the iteration reviews and retrospectives to make change recommendations and implement incremental improvements as you go. Be reasonable about this by focusing on only the top two or three things for the next iteration. It’s a backlog of recommendations and, like the backlog of product features; they all can’t be implemented at once.
  6. Pay attention to behaviours and avoid reverting to old habits. For example, if you notice that you’re depending on the specification that you had to create in the waterfall-up-front iteration instead of having discussions with the product owner, set the document aside.
  7. Invite all stakeholders to participate in a project retrospective at the end. These meetings are crucial to help identify and implement broader transition changes that affect the entire enterprise.

 
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