Agile is better than Waterfall

Many years ago, as a traditional, PRINCE2 project manager, I battled with the apparently counter-intuitive demands of my stakeholders and PMO for big detailed plans up front, when no-one in my team really knew the answers.
Further, I am not naturally a command-and-control sort of bloke and giving detailed task-level instructions to professional developers who knew more about their craft than I did was also very difficult for me.
But when I discovered Agile and it’s focus on collaboration and iterative development, I realised that it suited my natural style of teamwork. The agile project manager or Scrum ‘master’ is a “servant-leader” and I like that. I like how I planned at the level of detail I was comfortable with and I was instantly more successful with it. My projects were delivered on time and with delighted customers, unlike in the past where that was not the norm.

I was reminded of this while reading a thread in the Agile Alliance group on LinkedIn. Scott Ambler has been gathering and publishing statistics for a while now and concludes: “there is no statistical difference (yet) between agile, iterative and waterfall, so claims that waterfall is better (or worse) than agile at scale aren’t backed up by actual data that I know of.”

Interesting, eh?

Personally I have (perhaps mistakenly) viewed “Agile” as an umbrella term for a number of methods, including Scrum and DSDM. In that context, Agile feels more natural to me, more common-sense and I have yet to find anyone who, having tried it, feels it is not better than waterfall.

Whilst it is impossible to run the same project twice, I can say with certainty that in over 5 years, we have never failed an agile project, nor has one been delivered significantly late. I am hoping to start creating some metrics soon to prove how well it does work and to drive further improvements. On that subject, stay tuned.

About aterny

Agile enthusiast and evangelist, DSDM practitioner, trainer and coach. Specialist in Agile project and programme management, governance and organisational transformation
This entry was posted in Agile and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s