The Final Showdown - The Great Agile Challenge Day 5
25 Nov 2016
Welcome to the last day of the Great Agile Challenge, it’s been great to hear from you all about your opinions, experiences and predictions for the future. To bring the week to a close we have a special challenge brought to us by courseconductor.com. We want to hold a great debate on Agile vs Waterfall. Here are two opening statements, we want you to pick one and argue your best case for it below.
“Agile is our present and our future. Businesses now need to move so much quicker in order to keep up with their competitors. The responsive elements promoted in Agile and PRINCE2Agile are vital to ensure business projects can pivot to ever changing needs and deliver continual business value.”
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We have built our businesses on the foundations of Waterfall concepts. From the large financial systems we implement, to the physical building we work in. Well planned and budgeted projects live and breathe through Waterfall.”
These are bold claims! Which do you agree with? Or do you have another view you want to share. Let us know below.
As a final note, this week we’ve discussed Agile at length, and personally I’ve had a great time reading all your responses, it’s great to hear your real thoughts on Agile. Therefore I’d like to take a moment to bring courseconductor.com to your attention. If you have an Agile certification, then they want your input just like we do, simply log on to the site and review your course!
Thanks for taking part, we’ll be in touch with the Fire Stick winners shortly.
Yes, bold claims indeed particularly when there is nothing stopping someone from using waterfall in a more agile way e.g. shorter management stages to deliver incrementally. The benefit of Agile perhaps is the fail fast approach, so business justification can be determined every early in the lifecycle rather than at the end when the product is delivered to the customer. The challenge for businesses is not to keep up with competitors but to respond to changing customer requirements. For this alone, Agile has the advantage as its able to deliver a minimum viable product both incrementally and iteratively.
I mostly agree but we have to start by calling-out the errors
I think this answer is flawed.
The original question was flawed.
Both are a little like asking or replyiing "if you were employed as a car mechanic would you choose a leather stitching needle or a wood-saw as the only tool in your tool bag?"
Obviously the answer is both are of use in rare situations but many other tools are required, both can sit in the tool bag until needed, both are the primary tools of other trades and as mechanic I'd prize spanners and allen keys much higher..
To the question.
Waterfall is an approach to PRODUCT development that is optimised to deliver the quickest and cheapest result when clear and stable requirements are addressed to a team skilled in delivering the target result. It suffers the most catastophic failure when applied poorly or to the wrong context. It necessarily requires project management along side it to be useful in safely managing an investment effort.
Iterative, incremental methods allow for the most exploratory approach to product development when we start with the least clear target. iteritive methods require the highest skills in the team on both customer and supplier side. incremental methods are able to fail gracefully with partial value delivery. The pair together both contribute to taking the longest and costing the most for like-for-like-scope if/ when a like-for-like comparison with waterfall would have been possible. You can always use iteritve incremental you can't alsways use waterfall. You'd be daft to always use iteritve incremental as you'll be wasting resources.
Agile is a mix of project management governance for reactive adaptive controls mixed with an iteritive and often incremental development cycle.
Now to the answer
Dead right - a stage can map to a release or even a sprint or use agile in a flow based manner. Maybe not so spot on when we add the concept of MVP. It isn't from agile but from Lean-Startup which has borrowed an 'of-the-moment' word "lean" for marketing purposes and is simply (ok this is overly harsh) prototyping with sexy buzzwords - like pivot - likewise the idea of fail-fast - more sexy buzzwords - we don't aim to failfast we want to suceed fast. If we are at risk of failing then safe and cheap is prefered with the earliest more informing feedback.
Thats a lot of co-incident ideas with some connection all added to one mix and stired together. Fine for those who are sophisticated enough to understand the contributions of the different philosophies but far from informing for the many who don't appreciate which concept attaches to which actions in order to overcome what problem.
AND all this is potential to improve development of project outputs. Mostly it misses improving outcomes, misses strategic alignment, misses benefits realisation, misses corporate accountability, misses shareholder/ taxpayer value
I am open to both claims, but with growing complexity all around us, it does make a lot of sense to probe, sense and respond. That is how you work in an agile way. But that is not the only reason, Ireally enjoy working agile. It also is a lot more fun to work in small, self-organized team and see things growing and changing all the time. The whole agile movement is also putting people first. That is how I want to live my life, which work is an important part of.
Reality is too complex to have “one model fits all”. There are projects that are pure waterfall –a large infrastructure projects must have well defined phases: design, detail, legal approvals, construction, etc. Other are pure Agile. Hundreds of shades between these two ends. Waterfall projects may use Agile principles/tools to speed up tasks or phases.
I don't agree with either - because I don't agree that it's an either/or decision.
As most people will have said during this week, agile has it's place and is a valuable method, but so is 'waterfall' as well. they both are appropriate in different circumstances (and, equally, inappropriate in others).
So, yes, agile is great and flexible. But, that comment refers to PRINCE2 Agile - which is a way of combining agile and more traditional project management.
Each method is great, and to dismiss either is to lose a valuable tool in your project management toolbox.
In terms of creating debate there has to be two sides, however in reality I suspect there isn't an agile or waterfall argument. I go with the 'horses for courses' approach that enables a well established organisation to draw on different PM methods based on the project and it's context. More complex and uncertain environments would favour an agile methodology. Earlier this year I successfully achieved Prince2 practitioner certification. Following this I achieved agile pm certification. I did this because I felt it would enable me to have a more rounded approach to pm, or even be in a position to combine the two.
In my opinion, it is highly complex to have one model works for all projects- one medicine for all deceases! – not going to work!!. Some projects with are predictive (concept to release) in nature goes well with waterfall. Adaptive projects goes well with Agile. we can mix together case by case to make it more effective and efficient.