We’ve spent a lot of time talking about Waterfall and Agile methodologies and best practices for both. One thing that I wanted to highlight is the process and challenges that can arise when transitioning a team from one to the other. Like most, my team had been using waterfall for years, as it was the most common and well known practice. When our leadership had the bright idea to move to Agile we spent a great amount of time navigating the challenges that arose while also trying to retrain our brains to a new way of thinking.
Some advice I’d to those making the transition:
- Make sure that ALL stakeholders involved in the project have taken Agile training. – From the CEO to the developer (or person producing the final product) it is important that they have been trained and understand what Agile truly means and how it works. This will eliminate confusion and level set expectations.
- Build your team based on the Agile roles and responsibilities. – A major mistake that we made was trying to build an Agile team using the old team structure and roles that we already had in place (several business PM’s, Analysts, etc.) instead of assigning Agile roles (Scrum Master, product owner, etc.). This caused a lot of confusion because it was hard to define roles and responsibilities for each person involved.
- Plan time for the learning curve. – Just because the team has taken training, it does not mean that the transition will happen overnight and they will suddenly be Agile experts. Build in a buffer at the beginning of the first project to allow everyone to get comfortable.
- Agile does NOT equal to fast. – A huge misconception (mainly from those who have not taken any Agile learnings) is that Agile means that a project that normally takes a year will miraculously be completed in 2 months (or in a few sprints). Agile allows for teams work more closely and see progress during each step of the project but it does not mean that the progress will happen faster than waterfall.
Has anyone else participated in a team that transitioned from Waterfall to Agile and have similar experience or advice?