Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Agile and Waterfall development methods. Where do they fit?

Just got a mail from AgilePM which contained a fantastic article titled Project Managers vs. Scrum Masters; Agile Project Management Matures.

Including it here because, although I didn't get time to read it in full, the essence I got was a clear and well thought out explanation of how good agile teams put collaboration, communication and negotiation as their key skillset and that agile methods work when you learn how to apply them to the situation. How don't throw the baby out with the bath water. You learn to adapt your methods to the task and particularly the environment you face.

Agile methods are good when things are quickly evolving. When the solution you're asked to build is different from that which you end up building because changes happen during the building process. This has been the case on all projects I've been involved in. No matter how large or small. It's becoming more like this. Waterfall methods still have there place. for me they are good for small discrete tasks where there isn't much room for change and they work very well. But at a wider level I manage things in an active, agile way. It's the only way I can see that fits it all together in the end simply because the pace of change is such that waterfall just can't keep up.

I think my conclusion would be that waterfall is great for the small individual tasks. I use waterfall to complete them. But putting a whole project together requires more agile skills. The tighter the deadlines and more complex the task, the more I need agile approaches to keep it all in order.

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