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When will agile be the new waterfall?

Recently I was reading an interesting post by Ron Jeffries. He talks about all the different agile branding that exists. Scrum, XP, Kanban, SAFe, etc.

It got me thinking back to when I did waterfall. I guess there were brands about like PRINCE2ย and RUP, but no one really talked about doing waterfall. We just talked about doing work, and wondered how we might make testing work a bit better, or if there was a way to write the specs so the developers might actually read/use them.

I’m not saying we were following a great process, some of the things I did still fill me with dread. But, we never really focused on the process and what it was called (well except for a brief period where we did ‘PRINCE2’). We focused on the work and getting things done as well as we could.

Ron mentions in his article that he doesn’t think the branding will go away. But I’m not so sure. I believe agile will replace waterfall and become the de-facto way of working. I think it might take another 20 years unfortunately. But once it gets there I think the brands will disappear, or at least be less visible. Once waterfall is forgotten, hopefully we can just go back to focusing on getting the work done, and forget about calling our process something special.

I was talking to someone completely outside of IT yesterday. I told her I help teams work together sustainably and try to have fun doing it. I didn’t mention the word agile. I didn’t need to. Maybe we should change our company name to Growing Teams or Growing Fun ๐Ÿ™‚

So how about you? Can you explain what you do without using any of the buzzwords we hear so often? Can you survive a day at work without saying the word agile?

1 thought on “When will agile be the new waterfall?”

  1. Willmund van Aarde

    I agree with you – we are focusing too hard on the buzzwords instead of simply getting the work done.
    I’m in the process of investigating ways in which configuration managers can be more agile and its a very exciting journey. Traditionally CM is waterfall but there is a definite movement towards being more “lean, mean and agile” – and with the right guidance CM’s will continue being relevant in this brave new agile world.
    Can I survive a day at the office without saying that word? No.

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