From Waterfall to Agile: Keys to Making the Transition
Let’s not spend this entire article arguing over whether agile is here to stay or waterfall is still the dominant methodology—your allegiance often comes down to the specific situation your team, company, or software is in. There are tangible benefits to both, but it’s difficult to deny the ubiquity of agile at this stage of the game.
A number of teams are making the agile transition, and while plenty of agile coaches give strong advice for how to go from zero to agile in a measured, streamlined manner, it’s also important to focus on how to transition from an existing waterfall mentality to an agile one. They’re similar in key ways, but it’s their differences that make the move much more difficult than simply flipping a switch.
Rob Ramrath, the CIO of audio equipment maker Bose, played a big role in the company’s transition from waterfall to agile. His team was searching for a structured way to avoid uncertainty in the development process, and they did so by building heterogeneous teams, physically bringing the development team members into the same location, and integrating business project owners into the process.
Of course, all of this is easier said than done, but you need to welcome change into your company or team before completing the agile transition. Each member of the team needs to be properly trained, and because agile is such a collaborative methodology, communication is a necessity throughout the entire process.
What might be most comforting as you make the difficult transition is knowing that there are hundreds of success stories already out there, giving you a medley of helpful blueprints to keep you on the right path. Many companies—from startups to Fortune 500 conglomerates—have already made the difficult leap, and while it might be tricky to break everything down in order to build it back up, it’s critical to stay committed to the process in order to see it through.
Before you do anything, decide if agile is right for your waterfall team. If it is, understand the benefits. Agile can help modernize and speed up your processes, and according to BlazeMeter founder and CEO Alon Girmonsky, it can even perfect your business model.
“What agile enables you to do is to survive in a highly competitive market,” he explains to StickyMinds. “It also allows you to go to market faster and test the waters, so to speak, correcting mistakes and perfecting your business model quickly. And these are only a few of the advantages that agile bestows onto you.”