xmj's notes

Scrummy Waterfalls

One important challenge in modern enterprise is reconciling the volatility and uncertainty around agile processes with stakeholders expecting waterfall-style outcomes, their inherent predictability and sense of covering your ass.

SCRUM brings its daily standups, weekly meetings, plannings, reviews, refinement and retrospective meetings. It is a complete suite for achieving product development through verifiable and (sort of) plannable increments.

Now we learn that this can be reconciled, merged and layered with standard waterfall project management mechanisms, especially those that have been used for decades in large companies and state-sponsored enterprises.

This, of course, yields the worst of both worlds: you are neither agile, nor will you ever be able to “throw planned results over the wall to operations”. All the paper trails you leave to satisfy dinosaur processes, such as writing project specifications to obtain internal funding, cost valuable resources you cannot spend building the thing you are supposed to be shipping.

To escape that trap, challenge the notion of Hybrid approaches. It will work better if you pick one or the other.