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7 Tips to Ensure a Smooth Transition from Waterfall to Agile

It is possible to develop a software in many ways, but two of the most prominent methods are Waterfall and Agile.

Waterfall methodology is more traditional and has a sequential design process. It entails meticulous record keeping because once you finish one task, you cannot go back to it.

Each of the 8 stages of the project — conception, initialization, analysis, design, construction, testing, implementation and maintenance requires strong documentation if the project is to be successful.

Nevertheless, the Waterfall methodology had certain disadvantages attached to it. And the Agile methodology came as an answer to counter the difficulties posed through Waterfall.

If Waterfall did not allow developers to make changes to the program once they moved into the next step, agile allowed that, they could add features, make developments and evaluate project priorities at the end of each sprint.

The many advantages posed by Agile methodology made it easier for developers to complete their projects in the way they intended. This initiated them to move from Waterfall to Agile.

You can also make a transition to agile if your client likes to make changes in the middle of the project, or if you do not have a clear idea of how the final product will be like. This would also be a good idea if you are creating a product that must cater to the rapidly changing industry standards.

Here is how you can make the smooth transition from Waterfall to Agile:

1. Right People Brings the Right approach

If you are moving to Agile, then get the best people in the industry. Initially, start small, then expand.

Multi-talented teams can function remarkably well on a cross-functional team, but you also need to ensure that there are no negative relationships among the members of the team. Inflated egos, hurt pride are all detrimental to the success of the project. And the rest of your team must be able to adapt to the change.

2. Try the Up-front Planning Process

It would be a good idea to set up an up-front planning process that is in-line with Agile principles. You can set a directional road-map.Of course, it would change during the course of the project, but at least the people who plan the project and the people who make suggestions and alternatives are the one and the same.

Stakeholders also like to move the Agile way because they get the reassurance on the success of the project, and the direction/pace it moves.

3. Try the Lean Startup Method

If you are familiar with the Lean startup method, you may also be familiar with the Build-Measure-Learn concept. This concept is almost similar to the “inspect and adapt” Agile concept.

The Build-Measure-Learn concept offers a formalized structure to measure Agile implementation success. The success is most measured through measure and track metrics. It is these metrics that highlight areas of improvement for your next iteration. This will definitely take you on the right path.

4. Remember, Agile is Not an Appliance You Set and Forget

Moving to Agile is good, but never forget that it brings along a massive shift in your organisation’s future. Experts who are already well into using Agile (from Waterfall) in their companies vouch by importance of feeding and nurturing it everyday.

You cannot just set it once and forget it. Keep your eyes on it constantly, and you can hear the terms “sprints”, “minimal viable product” and “value”; this is the change you will eventually be seeing in your organization.

5. Effective Participation from All

Every member in the team must put in effective participation and contribution. This kind of collaborative culture ensures commitment, leading to quick project delivery.

Once you embrace the Agile project, make sure it is not only the project that you tackle, but the team that you select is also important. It is also important to get them to attend daily stand up meetings and ensure there is the necessary environment and resources for project success.

6. Transition Must be Gradual, not Sudden

Moving to Agile can be done in two ways:

(1) Quick transition from day one
(2) Gradual change made over time.

If the transition happens gradually, then all the team members can adapt to it and understand the benefits and will be more productive. Sharing success stories of different team members will be motivation enough for them.

Agile doesn’t mean “do many things at the shortest time possible”, but do it in such a way that everyone adapts smoothly.

7. Recognize the Bad Habits and Overcome Them

While transitioning to Agile from Waterfall, it is imperative to recognize your bad habits and overcome them. Certain organisations have the false belief that it is impossible to change because they have been doing business in the same fashion for years.

The misconception that they need a large team if they are working on a big project is also wrong. Sometimes, it is important to “unscale”, so make small teams of 4–5 people to compete the project and bring faster results.

Breaking large projects into smaller ones can sometimes bring better results. It would also work if you have a network of teams rather than the traditional method of hierarchy of roles. People can relate to the idea of teams rather than titles.

Conclusion

The need for speed cannot be denied, and when you are making a new product in an uncertain world, you need to be on your toes every time. Make this transition and enjoy the benefits offered by Agile. It would fine tune and accelerate your software delivery in a better way.

It is true the transition from a procedure tradition culture to an organically driven trend is a totally shift, but it definitely is an innovation you cannot resist.

If you follow the above mentioned idea, you can create an approach that would coincide with all points of organizational concern. Remember to employ tools that would make the transition smooth, and address points that would be impacted by the transition.

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