Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Waterfall is NOT dead...

SmoothProjectManager put up a short post about his disbelief on whether waterfall is dead or dying. You can hear his disgust between the lines about how strongly people are stating that waterfall is dead when, in fact, it is not.

I totally agree. Waterfall is not dead. BUT, those who have experienced successful Agile/Lean approaches have decided that they aren't turning back to waterfall because of their new level of job satisfaction.

Waterfall works well in projects where scope and deadline issues are minimal. The military uses PMI very well to build things like aircraft carriers. But, you also don't see them changing the length of the ship hull by 40 feet in the middle of the project like people change requirements on software projects. Change can't be tolerated in that type of project so the PMI/waterfall approach is very relevant.

A fundamental difference between the two is "fight change" vs. "embrace change".

Agile is growing much quicker than waterfall for many reasons including:
- when done properly... it works, and well
- it handles change much better than waterfall
- it reduces finger pointing which increases morale and job happiness

And unfortunately, it is a well-misunderstood buzzword that is being overused and misapplied (which shouldn't count as growth).

So, neither has won... and neither will conquer the other. As members of the agile community, we have to be careful about what we say to people in the non-agile world about our beliefs. If we come across as evangelists, we may turn people off from even listening to something that they might greatly benefit from.

Anyway, their are still people clinging to OS/2 warp machines somewhere out there... nothing ever dies in the tech community.

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