August 24, 2015 / in Blog, / by Number8

waterfall to agileWaterfall is a traditional software engineering methodology that has been around a long time. In the early days of software development, the waterfall approach worked fine in situations where analysis, design and coding were all step-by-step phases. In today’s software development world, things are much more dynamic, and far less clean-cut. And many software development projects do not fit into a rigid step-by-step process. In reaction to the waterfall methodology, a new approach for software development has evolved. This agile approach focuses on product testing throughout product development, and working in short bursts to complete manageable tasks. Agile software development allows you to change the process or product at any time during the software development process. There is room to refine a product, change direction, and to even make mistakes. This approach aims to work through the problem in a timely matter in order to create the best end product possible. In an agile software environment, there tends to be more visibility with less risk throughout the product development process, not to mention lower costs.

4 Critical Steps To Move From Waterfall To Agile Software Development

Perhaps not surprisingly, many software development companies are moving from the waterfall approach to the agile methodology. If you are considering whether to make the transition from waterfall to agile, or are already in the process, here are four critical steps to complete this transition.
  1. Learn the benefits of Agile and make a good argument for it to your team. It may be hard to persuade those that have been using the waterfall methodology for many years, but this move can create big opportunities while decreasing timely tasks. When discussing this move with your team it’s important to share all of the facts and information you can about this methodology. Your team should have a good understanding of this process before beginning this new adventure. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and is enthusiastic about this transition. When it comes to changes in the way software development projects are managed, good attitudes go a long way.
  2. Seek out and provide training and educational opportunities. When it comes to agile development, education is key. This approach to project management is different from waterfall and it may take time to fully grasp. Gathering educational materials and conducting training courses will improve your team’s understanding of the agile methodology which will help the team in the long run. Some hands-on training programs will be beneficial as well because the team can work together in a nonthreatening environment with example projects before actually handling real client projects using this new methodology.
  3. Develop a clear timeline for the transition. This transition should have a start and a finish time. Because it may take longer than expected, it is important to remain on track while also allowing plenty of time for your team to fully understand agile. You don’t want the move to take too long, but you also must help your team understand the process. Creating a timeline for this will increase productivity and limit costs.
  4. Be patient, change takes time and practice. Again, a good attitude can go a long way. Try and understand that measurable progress may take time and practice makes perfect. This move should involve practicing patience, positive communication and understanding. If there is a setback to the timeline, try and stay level-headed. Having an open and flexible attitude will improve your team’s morale while also giving them the support and courage they need to try out a new and unfamiliar approach to software development.
All of these steps listed above are critical to the transition process from waterfall to agile, and frankly, they are just the beginning. This transition can be made a lot easier if everyone stays on the same page. While it is important to keep things moving, having an adequate understanding of the concepts involved in agile development as well as the agile scrum process, will help your team make the transition much more easily.

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