Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Waterfall to Agile Transformation

 Follow Agile Principles and Take Step-Wise Approaches. 

Although Agile has been adopted by mainstream and has been proven with advantage for better improvement and speed, how does a group or a company move from typical waterfall environment to agile methodologies?

Select the right fit pilot project to Experiment, Learn, and Improve! It is important to select the right fit pilot project to see how it worked to avoid those who are resistant to change digging in their heals. For examples, take a chunk of work that needed to get done and you knew well how to do in order to focus more on the process without having to get the product owner up to speed right away, experiment and learn! 

Follow Agile principles "individuals and interactions over processes and tools": agile/scrum is all about the people doing the working figuring out the best way to get it done. Their opinions do matter; you have to do the retrospectives and you have to show people that their opinions matter by discussing and acting upon the feedback. You get better as you go along but only if you take everyone with you. With Scrum, you are asking the group to self-manage and take shared responsibility for their work. Go back to the agile manifesto, particularly "while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more". Agile does not mean abandoning everything people held dear in the waterfall process, it just means only doing what is required and staying focused on the end product. If you can't release at the end of each sprint make sure you do some form of "show and tell" in order to get feedback

Build a transition team with the right talent. Take training, patience and guidance. If you have the right people in place and everybody is on board, it can be a very simple process. That goes without saying that there will be ups and downs in production and bumps in the road but, in time, it will smooth out and become more consistent. Everybody views change in different ways moving from waterfall to agile is a very good change. Build a transition team with the right folks to lead it

Step-Wise: Clearly identified items that needed to be changed, modified, fixed, to truly be Agile and created a product backlog; product owner creating a roadmap and prioritizing backlog for the transition. Then go through all the standard steps-to improve the existing software development process. After all what you need is a better software development process than what you have now, so you get the team members active involvement with improving the process.
1). Get management blessing, Train everyone Scrum,  including the management
2). Pick a pilot project; get a Scrum coach to assist the team
3). Start Sprint 1, inspect the output of Sprint 1 and adapt.

Indeed, there’re many roadblocks on the Agile journey, the successful transition takes both planning and tactics; talent and stepwise approaches.


Very important to have the team know from C-levels that they are looking for a cultural transformation and not just a tactical change in software project management. But start with the basics with team definition and getting releasable (even if for internal UTA only) product after every sprint.

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