Often, even though organisations believe they are using agile project management, we see mini waterfalls instead.
This is not altogether surprising when you consider that almost 90% of organisations report that their company works on projects in an agile manner – there are bound to be some misinterpretations. However, agile is a very specific approach to project management, and one that mini waterfalls cannot form a part of.
Let's look at the differences between the waterfall and the agile approach, and the warning signs of mini waterfalls developing, to understand what can be done to rectify this problem.
The waterfall approach is named as such, because the project management process represents the flow of a waterfall through the various stages of activities. At the top of the waterfall is the requirements gathering stage, followed by design, development, integration, then testing, training and roll out. The approach is considered highly structured and managed, and it does work well for certain types of projects – in particular those that are unlikely to have evolving requirements and where there is certainty about the end goal.
In a waterfall development approach, all of the analysis and requirement building is done up front. This is followed by a stage where all the design is done. Then the development is all done in one go, and later on there is a stage when all of the testing is done.