Agile-Waterfall Hybrid: Smart Approach or Terrible Solution?

November 22, 2013

Agile-Waterfall-Hybrid-Smart-Approach-or-Terrible-Solution-168x168 Agile-Waterfall Hybrid: Smart Approach or Terrible Solution? agile Project managers often face long development cycles, constantly changing priorities that disrupt the product development process, and consequently a final product that does not meet customers’ expectations.

Traditional project management methodologies are often blamed for being unable to adapt to the changes which often makes testing products or changing alterations quite impossible. An Agile approach is often considered the solution for this problem.

Agile means an iterative, incremental approach to development. With each iteration, adjustments can be simply made to the product, therefore better reacting to changing requirements. The Agile approach has numerous well-documented benefits, however, it is important to note that it is not a one size fits all solution to all development problems. As a result, we often see businesses using “hybrid” solutions: combinations of traditional and Agile methods.

Hybrid models are usually born from a compromise between different methods. One of the most popular approaches today is the Agile-Waterfall Hybrid model as described by Erick Bergmann and Andy Hamilton.

As it’s undeniably a compromise, the Agile-Waterfall Hybrid model is far from perfect. It has as many advantages as disadvantages, just like any methodology. Yet a lot of companies are using it as a stepping stone towards “real” Agile adoption, and with careful planning and monitoring of processes, its benefits can outweigh its drawbacks. The Agile-Waterfall Hybrid is often considered a smart approach for adopting both methodologies without compromising too much – essentially, making the best of both worlds.

The most important details to know about the Agile-Waterfall Hybrid model:

  • Implementing Agile-Waterfall Hybrid allows software teams to work Agile, while hardware development teams and product managers can keep using a traditional Waterfall/V-model approach.
  • Tight, continuous integration is necessary between Waterfall and Agile software development processes from product concept until validation and production. As with all software development methodologies, collaboration is key. The Agile-Waterfall Hybrid method enables teams to define requirements and adapt to changing requirements, and to provide feedback from both the Waterfall and Agile sides. Thus, the Hybrid model can be considered a first step towards continuous delivery.
  • The Hybrid model is best suited for reusing software code, when dealing with a series of similar products and when future products must also be considered. In such situations, a quick turnaround time may be needed to keep pace with new product releases. Backlog management is a critical area for the successful adoption of this Hybrid model, and adoption is best assisted by software version release planning features.

With all Hybrid models, both sides must understand the limitations of the framework. Waterfall development must give up some of the certainty of fixed expectations for the flexibility and freedom of the Agile world. The Agile compromise is to be creative but with far less freedom, working against a fixed deadline with cost forecasting and risk assessments.

The Agile-Waterfall Hybrid model aims to retain the dependency tracking and clarity of Waterfall, while embracing the strengths of the Agile methodology, providing the flexibility and transparency necessary to adapt to the fast changing requirements of stakeholders.

codeBeamer ALM is ideal for Hybrid software development, extending the benefits of Agile tracking & management to encompass Hybrid development lifecycles. Read more about Agile-Waterfall Hybrid Requirements and check out how codeBeamer ALM supports both Agile and Waterfall development practices.

Interested in finding out more? Contact us to book a free, live 1-on-1 demo, or grab your free evaluation copy of codeBeamer ALM to see how it could help streamline your development processes.

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Eva Johnson

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Eva is an Economist (MSc) and also holds an MBA in Marketing Communications. She has over 10 years of experience in journalism, digital media communication and project management working with several multinational companies and governmental institutions. You will find her blogs posts on a variety of subjects from Agile-Waterfall Hybrid, Scrum to DevOps.

Eva Johnson has written 131 posts for Intland Software.

2 Comments. Leave new

agile development is created for software projects while waterfall development is well suited for hardware projects. this is because creating a flexible software is just a type away (given that a software developer properly knows how to create flexible software in the first place), while creating a flexible hardware is a costlier.

the most disappointing methodology is the hybrid agile-waterfall methodology on a single software project. I had experienced this. Being an advocate of scrum, I went to a company where the managers are PMP certified. They thought that by having a PMP certification will let them handle scrum very well. But the outcome turns to be very bad. The developers want to finish all the features before the deadline and place the bug fixing on the very last stage (just like with the traditional waterfall development), while tester/managers want the features to be fully tested at the end of each sprint. This will yield conflict, because the development strategy is not aligned with the process.

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Matthew Johnson
18 August 2015 21:52

Answer: terrible solution.

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