Mar 12, 2015

Agile vs. Waterfall: 1 – 0

Author: Matei Puiu

Some professionals have had somewhat negative first experiences with Agile, describing it as chaotic. I think that they might’ve met with this working model in circumstances that didn’t do it justice. One the other hand, I’ve witnessed many success stories involving the Agile methodology, throughout my career. Let me share with you some of the reasons behind my decision to go Agile:

  • Agility

It provides the Agility needed to face unforeseen changes – the pro-active mode of communicating, of asking for feedback, better knowledge of all parts of a product/service (so you can quickly and always adapt and react to required modifications); you will be much better trained to face product/service revisions, which are showing-up much more often now in the IT world.

  • Pulling vs. pushing tasks

Agile promotes the approach of pulling, instead of pushing tasks – everyone will take as much as they can handle, they will not be pushed into taking whatever was included in a big Project Plan developed on paper 3 or 6 month ago (of course, this is sometimes true only in theory, and team members working with the Agile model could end-up being even more overburdened then those working with the Waterfall model; still, at the end of the day, they’re likely to feel more satisfied with what and especially how they’re doing – but theory vs. practice with the Agile working model and insuring adequate implementation are debates for another article).

  • Less buffering

Agile reduces buffers – with the Waterfall model, everyone buffers: the Team Lead, the team members, the Project Managers, everyone involved. With an Agile project, everyone will focus more on doing, rather than estimating work (most often, it’s recommended to have either fixed estimates, like 8h or max 16h, or at times to even not pressure the team with any estimates at all, and have the Scrum Team adopt an ‘any task should involve a maximum of 2 days’ work’ rule.

  • Shared knowledge and cross-tasking

It develops the shared knowledge, communication and cross-tasking, vs. extremely narrow niches of specialization – or, at best case, more areas developed under the close supervision of the Technical Lead.

  • Flexibility

Agile better prepares team members for changing the project, if that should ever happen in the future (and it’s likely that it will).

So this is, in summary, my view on some of the top Agile advantages, vs. the Waterfall working model. I’d be curious to know some of your thoughts and experiences as well, so please share your views with me through comment or email, and subscribe to our feed to receive more of my Agile-related insights.

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