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HOW TO DECIDE WHAT PROJECTS ARE SUITABLE FOR AGILE VS. WATERFALL
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Advocates of Agile are known to imply or outright state that Agile works best, hands down. Just as often, opponents will counter with any number of reasons both legitimate and
outrageous why classic, plan-driven project management methodologies (like the waterfall method in software development) are the better choice. The fact is, theyre both right. In a
fascinating mathematical analysis comparing several popular Agile frameworks with waterfall project management in a real-world
project setting, Kevin Thompson, Ph.D, provides statistical evidence to support the validity of both options and to help you
understand which to choose for your project. His paper is titled, How Agile Should Your Project Be? (/resource/white-papers/howagile-should-your-project-be/) Here is a brief synopsis:

BEGIN WITH WHAT YOU KNOW


To decide whether the project your team is tasked with completing should be handled using an Agile framework or classic plandriven method, take a look at the information you already have. Are requirements for the nished project complete, clear and
stable? Can the effort required to complete the project be easily predicted? Have you successfully completed previous projects
similar to the one youre about to start? If you can answer yes to these questions, then a plan-driven process like the waterfall
method is likely your best bet. Why? Because answering yes to these questions indicates the project youre about to start is
predictable to a reasonable degree. Youve likely done one or more projects very similar to it in the past and can rely on the outcome
being roughly the same this time. That kind of reliability and stability makes achieving an adequate ROI (return-on-investment) simple:
We can spend $x because we know it will cost us $y to complete the project and we will then earn $z upon completion. However, if
you must answer no to any of these questions, the level of predictability drops and adequate ROI becomes a risk.

DETERMINE HOW TO MITIGATE THE RISK


Once the level of predictability goes down, statistics show that its smarter to use an Agile framework to initiate the project and achieve ROI through successful iterations. Several
frameworks exist in the Agile world so make sure to ask the right questions to help decide which way to start. For example: Is it necessary to plan the project at all? Is it possible to
plan the project? If the answer to these questions is no, Kanban is your best bet. It automatically assumes planning is unnecessary and/or impossible due to the nature of the project
and therefore jumps right into deployment in an organized way. Can tested deliverables be completed in short cycles? If they can, Scrum will likely be the best framework to
implement. If not, CBPM is the most viable alternative. Remember, every project has a different denition of success. We nd that that the Agile project provides clear benets for
return-on-investment and risk reduction, compared to the plan-driven project, when uncertainty is high. When uncertainty is low, plan-driven projects are more cost-effective. To gain a
more granular review of your particular situation and criteria to consider for choosing the most effective process, sign up for one an Agile Strategy Session
(http://www2.cprime.com/l/19052/2013-02-05/nn8q).
Agile Articles (https://www.cprime.com/category/agile-articles/)
(https://www.cprime.com/category/agile-strategy/)
(https://www.cprime.com/tag/agile-adoption/)

Agile Development with Scrum (https://www.cprime.com/category/agile/)

Agile Management Tips (https://www.cprime.com/category/agile-management-tips/)

| Monte Montoya (https://www.cprime.com/author/montemontoya/) | April 29, 2014 | about agile (https://www.cprime.com/tag/about-agile/)

agile projects (https://www.cprime.com/tag/agile-projects/)

Agile Strategy

agile adoption

agile vs waterfall (https://www.cprime.com/tag/agile-vs-waterfall/)

Why is it Vital to Get Training For Your Atlassian Agile Tool? (https://www.cprime.com/2014/05/why-is-it-vital-to-get-training-for-your-atlassian-agile-tool/)
Why Agile Values Must Permeate an Organization (https://www.cprime.com/2014/04/why-agile-values-must-permeate-an-organization/)

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