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Topics: Agile, IT Project Management
Waterfall vs Agile on IT projects
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I must admit I struggle with this question. Some in the Agile camp refer to those who use Waterfall as dinosaurs but I still think each has its place. More often than not I end up using more of hybrid approach with IT projects.

There is no shortage of decision charts which help you decide what is a more appropriate route to go but I am curious how others view how the complexity of a project makes them chose one over the other. I often see Agile favoured as the framework of choice for larger, complex projects but this is one example that I struggle with. If for example there will be many dependencies, integration with external organizations and a clear vision of the end goal, doesn't Waterfall make more sense? I am curious what the opinions of others are in this area.
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I use the hybrid approach. Waterfall is here to stay. Agile and Waterfall make a nice hybrid.

The rule of thumb is to use what will work best for the project.
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Dr. Frederick Brooks wrote the Mythical Man Month. In the 20th anniversary edition published circa 1995 he basically said "waterfall never worked" . Also he provides a nice history of how waterfall came out of the US DOD. Check it out.

ps to Alasdair...we kind of have the same name...my 'Al' is short for 'Alistair' ...)
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Alasdair -

Almost no project is 100% pure waterfall just as very few projects are 100% pure agile. We have to recognize that there is a continuum between these two extremes, profile the context of our projects to find where they lie along that continuum and then pick the right tools & practices.

Kiron
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You said you use a hybrid approach. Then that is what you are suppose to use. There is no correct formula.
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One thing is clear: if you do not use the word Agile with anything you are consider bad, dirty, ugly and old fashion. With all that said, do not fall into the trap. Agile is not about to use a method or process, Agile did not start with the Manifesto, Agile is not about software or IT. Agile was born as an alternative of Lean in 1990 but it was used from early 1980, Each time you have to use something to create something into your organization you have to perform an activity that belongs to business analysis: former enterprise analysis now needs assessment or strategy analysis depending if you take the PMI or the IIBA way. Here a link to an article I wrote and was published by the PMI and the IIBA as best practice that hope helps you: https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-pos...-right-solution
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If the organization has not been 'transformed' yet to be Agile, then the best you can probably do is a hybrid approach, which is completely okay. I have had completed several projects this way. At the end of the day, it is about getting the customer the value they require.

On the other hand, there are suitable projects for plan-driven efforts. Trust your gut, move forward, learn from the experience, adapt as needed.
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Hi Alasdair,
There is no one size fits all, I typically use hybrid approach. Although I love Agile there are projects where I go with waterfall. So we need to choose the approach which is best suited for the project.
Regards,
Priya
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We use hybrid approach as both own and customer organization is in the transformation journey and yet to mature on pure Agile. I believe we have to choose what is best for the project. Agile can also be considered as short term waterfall projects, we have to create something of value to the customer at the end of the time-box.
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Tailor Waterfall + Agile processes to meet your project objectives.
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On the other side, Agile and waterfall are not matter of comparison. You can apply Agile practices using waterfall life cycle process. We are doing that today in my actual workplace. Agile is a practice. Waterfall is a life cycle process created from predictive life cycle model.
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