Challenges of Migrating from Waterfall to Agile

Bigger Corporation who are heavily ingrained into using Waterfall face an uphill challenge while envisioning how they will successfully implement Agile in their organization. How to define Waterfall milestone equivalents into the Agile milestones and translating Program / Project Steering committee reporting in terms of project milestones and project progress reporting which they are used to following the Waterfall Approach.

First question is how does one report to Steering Committee when the project will be complete or partially complete - how do Agile multiple sprints map to project percentage completion and answer "what is my Go-live date?".

Mindset that continues to persist is that there is this one big requirement and we will build the system, do testing, User Acceptance, and finally cut over to go live.

What is the down-side to Waterfall are what is claimed to be primarily addressed in Agile, but there are some down-sides of Agile reporting - simple example like mapping Velocity from Burn-down charts to project progress and completion causes dilemma in the minds of the Project Management Organization. Following graphic shows a simple mapping of this sort.


Taking a deep dive can highlight key difference between Agile and Waterfall boils down to "Frequent Checks" in Agile Approach versus less frequent checks in case of Waterfall. A quick visualization of Agile versus Waterfall Comparison is as shown in the Graphic below:

Agile versus Waterfall Comparison

But question remains, are the Agile Scrum Ceremonies the best approach? - for example Daily Scrum meetings can be disturbing the progress in terms of "Too-frequent Checks".

There are challenges around the standard PMP approach and mapping to agile also that need an answer.

How to map change requests when a new user story is created which is truly an enhancement to a previous user story covered in one of the previous Agile Release Sprint.

How to track Business Cases and inception / initiation of the projects.

Do we consolidate retrospectives and when after each release or after couple of releases and many more...

Many larger organizations are thinking or have already started a Hybrid Approach to avoid these pitfalls of Daily Scrums, Project Change Tracking, and Management reporting.

At Business Pointers Inc. - - a classic blend of Waterfall with Agile SCRUM and Kan ban topped with Scaled Agile Framework was adopted leveraging Releases, Epics, User Stories, Spike Stories, and Task/ sub-task management to successfully address above pitfalls.

ProjectDAY - a Hybrid Software Suite was developed in-house which is now used by Business Pointers Inc.and is also offered to its customers.

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