The ongoing journey from Waterfall to Agile

  • Flexible
  • Ready to respond to the ever-changing need of customers
  • Economical
  • Improving in quality, teamwork, and commitment
  • Faster Innovation
  1. Role-Based
  2. Mindset Shift
  3. Technical Shift
  1. Role-based — I have personally been in multiple roles during my tenure in IT. For the most part of the transformation years, I have been mostly in the role of a Scrum Master/Agile Coach, helping teams on this transformation journey.
  • Our responsibilities might be the same but how we perform them might be different
  • The role we play doesn’t change but how we execute is very different.
  1. In Waterfall, you are used to doing all the design upfront whereas in Agile you are adhering to the goals of building incrementally and assuming variability.
  2. In Waterfall developers and testers are in their swim lanes but Agile takes the TDD or BDD approach and requires developers and testers to work together.
  3. In Agile you might be leveraging DevOps to deploy smaller and faster.
  1. Patience is a virtue — Remember this journey’s pace is set by the approach your organization is taking and it might be a slow one. Even if you are moving faster than others, you can’t be done unless everyone around you is across the finish line. If you are in a good spot, take the lead and help others. Be a coach to others!! Innovate new ways to help your team and learn to adapt.
  2. Resources are your true assets- It would pay to invest in training for your team members. There are a number of ways to do this, starting from hiring Agile coaches to making Agile classes available for teams. If in the journey there are new skill sets to learn, getting your teams professional help will fast track their progress and help them feel supported. This is one of the simplest ways of equipping your teams with knowledge on what to expect during this journey while being productive.
  3. Define Metrics — Remember that employee satisfaction should always be of paramount importance. If you are in a manager role, try to be empathetic and check on your team members. As Agile says, fail fast and learn fast. Let your team members fail and help them get up and start again without penalizing them but make sure to encourage them to try harder and use different tactics. Give them metrics to measure themselves and see how they are comparing to those metrics at the organization level.
  4. Create the Culture- As leaders, try to adopt the “House of Lean” and lead by example. Encourage a culture that is supportive, innovative, and continuously improving.
  5. WiiFM (What’s in it For Me) — Help your teams understand how to best leverage this journey and personalize it. Agile brings in values and methods that not only help organizations go nimble but also instill some new habits in individuals that can support well into their personal lives. Agile values such as thinking of smaller goals, creating smaller and faster feedback loops, and continuous improvement have been described by many successful people as their trademark success traits used on their journey.
  6. Be a part of the journey — In the end, no matter what level you are at, you are part of this journey.Share your experience and your insecurities so that people around you can feel safe and included.
  7. Make it your business- Treat transformation like a business product and plan it like another other product with milestones and a roadmap to ensure the teams know the itinerary to this trip.

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