Why Upgrade from Waterfall to Evolutionary Development (EVO)

April 22, 2015
v-336x336 Why Upgrade from Waterfall to Evolutionary Development (EVO) blog software development

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We often hear that Waterfall development cannot be iterative since it was not designed to be, built at a time before the internet and mobile applications, a world much slower than today, – a time when software requirements were unlikely to change. Despite this Waterfall Development is still widely used, but today we have a new kind of Waterfall, an evolutional Waterfall and it is a far cry from the Waterfall of old.

The evolution of Waterfall has occurred as a result of a clear need to be reactive to feedback and more adaptable to change. The traditional Waterfall methodology has had a makeover, replaced by iterative versions of Waterfall such as Evolutionary Development and Evolutionary Project Management otherwise known as EVO.

The evolutionary development model (EVO) enables the development of products that better fits users’ needs, reduce costs and risk, and enable faster incremental improvements to existing products. This description could be for Agile Development, so what is the difference and why use EVO?

Just like Agile Development, Evolutionary Development (EVO) is a software development method that is based on incremental product releases, frequent delivery, dynamic plans and processes as well as being a “simple to implement” methodology.

How Can You Benefit from Evolutionary Development?

With Evolutional Development, the traditional Waterfall development cycle can be split into smaller incremental waterfall models.  The resulting timely feedback enables the development team to alter product requirements and plan changes to the product, only possible by having the product available at the end of each cycle

Benefits of Evolutionary Development (EVO) are as follow:

  • Significantly reduces the risk of software projects
  • Reduce costs by examining and analyzing the issues of each phase
  • Minimizing critical and serious defects during testing
  • Increasing response of the development team to changes
  • Enables continuous process improvement
  • Increasing team motivation and collaboration
  • Resulting products that better fit user needs and market requirements

Evolutionary Development (EVO) makes it possible for marketing and sales team to have access to documentation during early stages and to start the sales cycle before product is released.

To reduce the number of late changes and the number of defects during testing is often cited as a reason to try Evolutionary Development (EVO). Introducing Evolutionary Development (EVO) is not so easy. One of the most challenging factors is the need to have a clear vision of the product that meets users needs. You also need to consider that some developers might have problems with the change, – to break down works into iterations.

Finally yet importantly, you need to accept that the evolutionary development model requires more effort than projects developed with traditional Waterfall since teams develop incrementally (time-consuming). You need to set up interaction with consumers early, and that requires a shift in thinking about development.

Recommendation: How to get Evolutionary Development (EVO) right

    • Compile a standard development plan that can be used for each cycle
    • Choose an engineer to become technical manager to develop EVO plan and trace progress
    • Choose a liaison manager to be a single point of contact for all the users and developers
    • Make project management decisions timely correct not to delay development
    • Avoid overwork or burnout of developers (potential risk for failing project)
    • Balance management focus (shipping code, collecting feedback and making decisions)

Evolutionary Development (EVO) with codeBeamer ALM

codeBeamer ALM software is complete Application Lifecycle Management solution that covers all phases of the development process including requirements, test, and risk management as well as demand management, development management, and DevOps. In addition, it offers a comprehensive wiki and advanced document management functionality.

codeBeamer ALM software supports Agile, Waterfall (the “V” ) and EVO as well as Hybrid development processes complying with regulations and standards defined by government and the industry.

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Agile Software Development Guide

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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.

1 Comment. Leave new

This is a good article. We moved away from Waterfall many years ago, and found spiral development according to the principles of evolution, incremental, collaboration, and iteration to work extremely well.

This represents a fundamental philosophical shift in methodology, in ‘how we do things around here’. We created Evolutionary Development Methodology (R) to manage these programmes, and we’ve used it successfully with many clients.

Your espousal of Evolutionary is a Good Thing and the more, the merrier.


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