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Transitioning from Waterfall to Agile


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Today’s companies are moving at a faster rate than they have ever moved before.

Companies are continually getting products out the door to keep up with demand, and more importantly to stay ahead of their competition.

Are you in that same position??

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Transitioning from Waterfall to Agile

  1. 1. Bill Dow, PMP • 26 years in information technology • 24 in Project Management • 9+ years at Microsoft, 11 running large PMOs • Instructor of Project Management, currently teaching at Bellevue College, and has taught in other Colleges in British Columbia & Ontario, Canada • Strong passion for Project Management, PMO’s & Project Management Methodologies. • Author of three Project Management books and articles. Author of The Tactical Guide for Building a PMO Co-Author of Project Management Communication Tools & Project Management Communications Bible
  2. 2.  Today’s companies are moving at a faster rate than they have ever moved before.  Companies are continually getting products out the door to keep up with demand, and more importantly to stay ahead of their competition.  Are you in that same position??
  3. 3.  Currently, the industry thought process is to move from the traditional “waterfall” method to the “Agile” method.  More and more companies are moving to “Agile” to drive faster release cycles and get the product in the hands of their customers.
  4. 4.  Sadly, more and more companies making this move to “Agile” is not seeing the success as fast as they are expecting.  Many companies struggle for a variety of reasons, but the proof is out there, “Agile” is working in some areas and not so well in other areas.
  5. 5. WHY???
  6. 6.  Why are companies struggling to get Agile adapted and why is it not being adopted as fast as companies expected?  There are a number of survey’s on the web that you can find that states why Agile is failing.  Let’s look at some of those reasons now. fail/
  7. 7.  #1 Lack of Experience with Agile Methods  #2 Company Philosophy or Culture at Odds with Core Agile Values  #3 Lack of Management Support  #4 External Pressure to Follow Traditional Waterfall Processes  #5 Lack of Support for Cultural Transition  #6 A Broader Organizational or Communications Problem  #7 Unwillingness of Team to Follow Agile  #8 Insufficient training fail/
  8. 8.  This is just one of the several Agile failure survey’s out on the web and you can certainly go search the web on your own and see the different results.
  9. 9.  I think it is important to acknowledge the survey’s and recognize where Agile teams could do to increase their changes of success.  Here are some areas that Agile teams could focus on to be successful:
  10. 10. 1. Executive Support for Agile Processes 2. Acknowledge need for Project Management Processes 3. Let’s Agile teams have time to form 4. Crawl, Walk, Run.. 5. Training, Training, Training
  11. 11. 1. Executive Support for Agile Processes • Executives who are driving teams towards faster delivery to market don’t often understand when they tell their teams to be “Agile”. • Executives need “Agile” training to become more familiar with the development process. • Agile teams must work hand in hand with their executives throughout the project for the best chance of success.
  12. 12. 2. Acknowledge need for Project Management Processes • This is a very common problem “Agile” teams face when they try to run the effort from the book. The book says there is no place for a project manager or the project management process. That’s Crazy!! • Every project has scope, schedule, budget, resources, time…etc. Every project regardless of the development methodology(Agile/Waterfall) needs these areas managed. • Agile teams who embrace the project management processes while maintaining the Agile framework have a much better chance of success.
  13. 13. 3. Let’s Agile teams have time to form • One of the biggest problems management falls into is expecting that their brand new “Agile” team will instantly be productive. • Agile teams need time to grow and form. Every Agile team will go through the Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing phases. This is no different than a waterfall team, however with a Agile team it’s impacts are more relevant, because the time is shorter between iterations. • One of the best practices for “Agile” teams to follow when going through these 5 phases is to start your iterations with foundation sprints. Start slowly with developing foundation components of your product when experiencing these relationship phases.
  14. 14. 4. Crawl, Walk, Run. • Companies can not completely move all their org’s projects into “Agile” right away without “piloting” first. Companies that completely stop “Waterfall” and jump into “Agile” without proving “Agile” will work will likely have huge problems. • Companies who take some of their smaller and less impactful projects to “test” how Agile works, have proven to be successful. • Leadership, teams and project resources will all have much easier time of implementing “Agile” when you take baby steps and prove it works in your organization. “Crawl, Walk, Run…. Crawl, Walk, Run statement has never been more relevant when you are moving our organization into an “Agile” environment.
  15. 15. 5. Training, Training, Training • Everyone involved in the “Agile” process needs appropriate training. The “Agile” development process is not quickly learned off the cuff, and everyone involved needs training. • Agile training includes: • Management/Leadership Training • Scrum Master Training • Agile Practitioner Training • Agile Product Owner Training • Agile Training • Training is so critical for all members of the Agile team. If your company is going to embrace “Agile”, then ensure that people are trained and ready!
  16. 16.  I have seen “Agile” be very successful and I have seen it fail.  When “Agile” teams and leadership embrace these five best practices it is going to go a long way in helping them be successful.  Spend the time, go over the survey’s, go over what your project is doing and adapt and adjust along the way!
  17. 17. Thanks for your Time! Find Bill’s books on Amazon today: 1. “Project Management Communication Tools” Published 2015” 2. “The Tactical Guide for Building a PMO” Published 2012 3. “The Project Management Communications Bible” Published 2008 Bill Dow’s Contact Information: Email: Social Networks: • Twitter: @dowpublishing @billdow • LinkedIn: Bill Dow, PMP • Facebook: Dowpublishingllc
  18. 18.  Music by The Silver Spurs  Content for presentation taken from Project Management Communication Tools  PMI’s Pulse of Profession 2012  806642