How to Effectively Transition from Waterfall to Agile | TechWell

How to Effectively Transition from Waterfall to Agile

App creation has changed drastically over the past fifteen years, and it's only set to continue evolving in the near future. Around 2001, the Agile Manifesto was established to provide teams a better means of software development, as waterfall approaches would not match up to the fast pace of technology and user demands. Accordingly, agile testing methodologies and development practices rose to hype status, and organizations began to take notice. However, the journey for many teams has been a challenging one. There are a few strategies that businesses can use to successfully transition from waterfall to agile processes.

1. Do it for the right reason.
Whenever something new and shiny comes along, there's often the knee-jerk reaction to adopt it right away. However, this is not always the best solution. Teams should indeed adopt agile, but they need to do it for the right reason and make sure that they're ready for all of the complications that come along with it. Scrum Alliance contributor Rex Lester noted that some teams simply want to use agile as a way to "do more for less." While there are certainly advantages in the way of cost savings and faster time to market, these benefits alone shouldn't be the driving forces behind the agile movement. Organizations must understand that agile practices are a culture shift that dictate not only what team members are responsible for, but also how they should interact with each other. Recognizing this and using it as the focus of the initiative will help teams get away from waterfall testing practices and thoroughly embrace agile.

2. Train in relatable ways.
Professionals can't—and shouldn't—be expected to take their current knowledge and apply it to new systems. While there will be some overlapping pieces, there are also many new techniques, concepts, and workflows that must be communicated. The only way for the transition to be successful is to train teams to work with agile and provide these members with regular sessions to keep them updated with any recent advancements. VenturePact noted that one way to help prepare staff is to try connecting the old with the new. Basically, the training should explain new concepts in a way that workers can easily understand. Relatable examples are often the best way to streamline the transition and ensure that people are comfortable with agile operations.

3. Facilitate balanced self-governance and support.
Possibly one of the biggest challenges is giving teams their autonomy while also ensuring that scrum masters and other QA management individuals are there for support. Agile is a major proponent of self-governing bodies, as it gives teams the freedom to communicate and solve problems in the best way that will suit project needs. This can give a lot of weight to improving the user experience and overall quality of each product. However, when things get sticky, it's always good to have a leader available for assistance. TechTarget contributor Lisa Crispin noted that scrum masters and managers can help resolve issues that are out of the team's direct control. Things like gathering and analyzing customer input and facilitating discussions would fall under this purview.

"To support the transition to agile, scrum masters need to be more than simple servant leaders and facilitators," Lester wrote. "They have to be ambassadors of change...In order to be successful, you have to convince people that it's safe to let go and take a leap of faith. It takes leadership and drive and it's not easy—but if it were easy, wouldn't we all be doing it already?"

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