Implementing Agile Processes Within a Waterfall Project

April 15, 2015

solutions-waterfall-1-336x190 Implementing Agile Processes Within a Waterfall Project agile One of the unstated requirements of Agile Adoption is to have the leadership onboard, however this is often not possible initially. Many large enterprises still use Waterfall Methodology, despite the obvious advantages of using the Agile Methodology.

You might call it an Enterprise Waterfall legacy, where historically Waterfall has always (a very long time) been used. Where this scenario is present it is usually an up hill struggle to get leadership onboard. Leadership can be an overwhelming obstacle to both to change itself and Agile adoption; – this is especially true when the current methods already work (to some extent or another) and have done so for some considerable amount of time. Besides this entrenched Waterfall work cultural barrier to Agile adoption, there are other challenges of a more physical nature that are a matter of project size.

Often, on a large project individual development teams are prevented from making decisions on their own piece of the project, and this includes the decision as to which development method to use. This is not because the concept was rejected entirely but rather due to a lack of support at the top which translates into a lack of momentum and progress on the issue. This is often a consequence of project size and the belief that having one team working differently via Agile would be disruptive to the whole project. This is especially true where different parts of a project are being worked on by different contractors (different companies), – a distributed multi team and multi contractor environment.

How to make your case for Agile Adoption to project leadership

The typical argument points for a team Agile adoption on a Waterfall project might include the following:

  • Overly long concept and planning phases, unnecessary for the particular part of the project in question.
  • Constantly changing requirements for the piece of the project in question.
  • Overly pressurized development phase with frequent changes of priority, negatively impacting on quality. Agile can resolve this.
  • Speedier Implementation with Agile

Some typical arguments against Agile can be found on this Forbes article from 2012, although now old, the arguments are still just as relevant today. Forewarned is to be forearmed so have an answer to these negative viewpoints on Agile for your enterprise.

Post Proposal for Agile Adoption

After a proposal for Agile adoption is made, it is important to build momentum, don’t just sit back and wait for a response, but rather take the initiative and start the proposed plan for Agile integration locally, we suggest implementing Scrum, applying those changes that directly effect your development team only, establishing:

  • Roles
  • Backlog
  • Review
  • Retrospective
  • Schedule
  • Participants
  • User Stories
  • Quality Assurance

The aim is to lead by example and to demonstrate Agile effectiveness on a small scale, without negatively impacting on the rest of the project. Its a very different prospect, having a proposal with no relevance to your enterprise and a working example that does provide concrete – visible benefits. Approaching leadership armed with facts and figures is often a game changer.

What about the Scaling Agile for Enterprise use?

The next step is having a plan to scale Agile for multi team use. This should include the long-term goal of the adoption of the Scaled Agile Framework, as the name suggests this framework allows the scaling of Agile for Enterprise use. From here on in Leadership must be onboard because multitier coordination of Agile process adoption is necessary. Here we do not talk about throwing out the kitchen sink with the washing water, but rather a gradual process of piece-by-piece process adoption to reduce the bottlenecks in the project.

One thing that is essential for the gradual approach is to have a flexible ALM software such as codeBeamer ALM, whilst it is designed for use with the Scaled Agile Framework it is flexible enough to tailor it for business requirements on a case by case basis and Hybrid Agile Waterfall projects.

We provide a free codeBeamer ALM license for a single team (up to 25 users) for an entire year, perfect for demonstrating to project leadership the benefits of using Agile within your Waterfall project. Why not try codeBeamer ALM on your project?

Watch our webinar  to learn more about how to integrate Hardware (Waterfall) and Software (Agile) Development:

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Related E-Book

Agile-Waterfall Hybrid Template

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Eva Johnson

Written by

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.

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