Maybe not as dramatic as the title suggests, but the latest evidence suggests that the Agile software development values, principles, practices and now tools are here to stay, with Scrum and Kanban alongside Extreme Programming (XP) being the most popular Agile methods used today.
What is Waterfall software development?
The waterfall model is a sequential process where progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of requirements specification, design (including architecture), development, integration, testing, installation and maintenance. The waterfall model or ‘big design up front’ method works well for simple projects or when requirements are known, do not change significantly and there are few significant unknowns.
What is Agile software development?
Agile is a group of ‘lightweight’ software development methods based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organising, cross-functional teams. These methods evolved in the mid-1990s as a reaction against the heavyweight waterfall-oriented methods, which were criticised as being heavily regulated, regimented, micromanaged and overly incremental approaches to development.
In February 2001, seventeen independent-minded practitioners of several programming methodologies met to discuss lightweight development methods and published the Manifesto for Agile Software Development to define the approach now known as ‘The Manifesto for Agile Software Development’, which reads in its entirety as follows:
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
We are Agile evangelists at Mogital, but pragmatically appreciate that Agile methods can work within the governance framework of more traditional methods, such as Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) and PRINCE2® (PRojects IN Controlled Environments). However, this is not ideal, as the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe™), an interactive knowledge base for implementing agile practices at enterprise scale, is better suited for organisations who want to be truly agile, which can be measured by:
- Ratio of development budget to revenue
- Frequency of releases (months)
- Stabilisation of releases (months)
- Time to get a small change to users
- Number of users on a current release
- Total defects
As organisations strive to positively assess themselves against the above measures of agility and increasingly turn to popular agile methods, such as Scrum, to achieve this, we argue that the waterfall model is slowly dying with agile methods being widely recognised as the most effective way of delivering software of high business value.Share this post