Courtroom Scene :: #Waterfall vs #Agile — #Waterfalls Case (#kanban #scrum)

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury.  Waterfall is better. Period.

If you want to run a project then the waterfall way of working, the qualifications associated to it, the length of time it’s been used and everything about it leads to a much higher likelihood of success.

With Waterfall you create a project schedule with the anticipated deliverables required, the time it will take to do them, who will be doing them, when they will be doing them… using an appropriate tool you can then display the anticipated delivery schedule of the programme. The plan can be rolled up into high and mid lever plans, each with their own distinct owners to ensure responsibility of updates and delivery.

Status reporting using RAG simply follows from this schedule. Each subsection of the project will have a status report; analysis, development, test, business change, etc with an overall status from the PM.
Through time the schedule will change, but crucially, because it’s constantly used discussed and updated, the plan provides easy to read and audited status.

With waterfall communication is much simpler. Through status meetings and governance boards, it’s possible to easily display, discuss and show how it is tracking against deliverables. If a deliverable were to be missed, the impact on subsequent milestones is easily recognised through dependency mapping. Interventions can be made – if work needs to be done to get more people in, more money, remove scope, it’s all clear based on the milestone plan.

With waterfall scope is well defined and controlled. At the start of the project work is done with the business teams and the BAs to develop the requirements. These requirements are clearly document in analysis document for business review and sign off. The engagement between analysis and the business is frequent and a document defines an agreed scope allowing for improved financial estimation (based on estimate of effort required to develop and test).

When well written the requirements contract is clear and development and test have a clear view of what is required. They are then able to work on creating the product. Should an issue or question arrise they can speak to the analysis or business teams to get clarification. If the conversation results in the need for new functionality a change request to scope can be drawn up and assessed to see if it can be included, with subsequent financial and timeline impacts clearly understood.

Waterfall allows for easy and clear audit of change control. Depending on the PM change control can be used on all aspects of the project, not just scope. A Change Request can be used for finances, staffing, technical scope changes, functional scope changes, milestones changes, regions to be deployed to, absolutely anything. With each decision being audited.

Risks and issues form part of status reporting and are clearly communicated via PM status meetings and governance boards. The tracker for risks and issues is clearly defined and if a distinct tracking meeting is required then that can be easily setup with the required attendees present.

Waterfall allows for smooth operation transition. When the product is ready for deployment into production, the waterfall process allows for easy planning and allocation of effort to ready the support teams transition. Each support team has different requirements and needs, so allocation of time to artefact creation and KT allows for smooth sign off and promotion to production kit.

The biggest strength of waterfall is the deliverables. With a waterfall plan it’s very easy to articulate the artefact that is required to provide sign off of said milestone. It maybe analysis document, design documents, test plans, UAT schedules, architecture diagrams, etc. but no matter the deliverable it is clear who is to do it and when by.

Ladies and Gentlemen, before you listen to any defence of “agile” ways of working let it be clear – everyone knows what they are doing in waterfall, everyone knows when they are meant to be doing it – waterfall helps everyone know what is going on and how it is happening, with clear ownership and deliverables.

Waterfall is better. Period.

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