How I Pulled Myself Out of the Waterfall - InformationWeek

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How I Pulled Myself Out of the Waterfall
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User Rank: Apprentice
9/20/2018 | 2:09:48 AM
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User Rank: Ninja
3/11/2017 | 8:46:03 AM
There is always a waterfall...ideally
As the article states in the example, for a contractor to put in plumbing and nail siding to the outside walls the foundation and framing have to be in place. That IS waterfall!! And there is really no way around it. In software development QA cannot test something that does not exist, be it the requirements (which in the real agile world are often not specified) or the code or the database schema.

There is always an element of waterfall in the process and keeping some aspects is beneficial. How many times did I have to do work on a high priority feature that in all agility was pushed from nowhere straight to the top of the backlogg just to be considered not that important after all when we found out that due to lack of requirements the implementation became very difficult, took a long time, and had to be constantly changed?

Be more waterfallish at the beginning and keep a stricter first in, first out approach, then follow up with a healthy dose of analytics and up front design. After that be as agile as can be with writing tests, docs, and code in pararallel followed by testing and bug fixing at the same time.

Sure, you can pour the foundation and build the roof at the same time in the same place, but it is tremendously more difficult and the end result will not be as good as doing it one after the other.
User Rank: Moderator
3/8/2017 | 5:01:11 AM
Your article gave me many interesting ideas for my presentation. super!
Charlie Babcock
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
3/1/2017 | 1:59:19 PM
Frequent updates, continuous integration the real goal
Author Mark Thiele has hit upon the key aspects of waterfall development that DevOps is meant to counteract. Commenter Mark Sitkowski is probably right in saying waterfall isn't always as bad as the example cited. But in general, a more rapid development/more frequent update process must displace today's existing software production processes, even when they work. The problem isn't just getting the project done but getting the application changes into production when they're needed. Most companies have found it to be a major culture change. 
User Rank: Strategist
2/28/2017 | 5:55:08 PM
I must have been to the wrong school, or something, but the process you've described isn't the waterfall I'm used to - especially the bit about everyone waiting for everyone else to finish. While you're still at the planning stage, there should be meetings with all the developers and testers, to determine

a) what discrete tasks need to be performed,

b) which tasks depend on which other tasks and

c) which tasks can be performed in parallel with which tasks (which is rather determined by (b), above).

If you have enough resources, you just allocate one task each, and join your work flows at the dependency points. The longest path through the plan determines the project duration.

I don't care what methodology you use, putting the roof on before the walls are built won't work, which is why things called 'critical paths' exist. 

Also, any PM who doesn't hold regular meetings (or 'standups' if you like) so that development groups can exchange information, is in the wrong job.

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