The Transition from Waterfall to Agile Is Essential, but What Are the Real Costs? | TechWell

The Transition from Waterfall to Agile Is Essential, but What Are the Real Costs?

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If agile were as easy as flipping a switch and seeing better speeds and greater quality, well, everyone and everything would be agile. Different people across the software industry have preached the word of agile for years and years, but the reality is that actually transitioning to agile can be a long and arduous process.

First off, let’s establish why agile isn’t something you can just quickly turn to. In an interview with AgileConnection, Mark Levy, the director of strategy at Micro Focus, explained why culture built up through many years of business—especially at the enterprise level—can be a difficult thing to shift.

“Enterprise IT is complex, sophisticated, dynamic, and frequently chaotic. These large development organizations frequently have thousands of developers and hundreds of teams that develop on different architectures and platforms from different locations and typically use different processes and tools to develop and deploy software,” Levy said. “Each enterprise has its own unique DNA that has organically evolved through generations of applications and technologies with its own historic set of artifacts and processes.”

If you’ve had the same golf swing for ten years, it’s going to take months and months of practice to revamp it. And while it can be encouraging to hear the medley of benefits that come with a new swing, the hurdles you’ll have to overcome along the way may discourage you from making the change in the first place.

But we continue to hear from successful organizations that the transition from something like waterfall to agile is not just beneficial—it’s essential. There will be growing pains, but if you keep your eye on the prize and work to lessen the hiccups, you’ll find your organization in a much more competitive place.

“The transition will take time and happen incrementally. Are there things you can do today to accelerate the delivery of business value to your customers while you transition your development teams to agile software practices?” Levy continued. “This is where DevOps takes a broader view of the delivery process and there are things you can do to accelerate software delivery as your waterfall teams transition to agile.”

By evaluating your needs, committing to removing your bad habits, and moving toward a culture of continuous improvement, the transition to agile can be made much more palpable. It still won’t be easy, but it’s better to invest now instead of being forced to make major changes when it may be too late.

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