Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls: The Benefits of Advancing to Agile

Agile is known as a software development methodology, but it does a lot more for a business. It all began in the spring of 2000, when a group of 17 software developers were eager to speed up development times in order to bring new software to market faster. It has since transformed the way software development is done and is now being applied across all business areas to deliver change.

Agile vs Waterfall

The agile methodology provides flexibility for the team and any management role. It allows for a changeable market, providing an environment to make experiments or prototypes from stakeholders, clients and customers. This often offers faster information and feedback – enabling a business to adapt quickly.

This fast-paced element cannot be achieved with waterfall – it is a very stagnant methodology. With the waterfall model, you have a specified time frame to gather and test, and only adapt, change or gather feedback at the end. On the other hand, with agile, small quantities of product can be released and adapted quickly, enabling you to change it and thereby creating the perfect environment for flexibility and modification.

Although software developers largely have abandoned the waterfall methodology, it is still widely used in other areas of the business with around 44% of projects still using the waterfall model.

Benefits of agile

You can look at the benefits of agile from both angles.

  1. Customer: Customers get the opportunity to be involved to look at progress and see what else can be done (e.g., Scrum/all stakeholders can see what’s been achieved, influence, share ideas and change direction if it was decided something was no longer required.)
  2. Team: An agile team receives feedback from the business/end users quicker and they can be sure that is moving in the right direction (or can adapt/change something quicker). The team want to be self-organised and agile gives them full freedom and responsibilities where they can provide ideas.

Unlike waterfall, nothing is well refined and there is a high-level vision of what is needed. The team is involved in all discussions on how it should work/look like in the details. This provides a better understanding and makes their ideas more valuable, no matter the experience level which is beneficial to the team to boost confidence and morale.

With agile you can do different frameworks, for example Scrum or Kanban, which provides an active connection with the clients and allows you to refine their requirements. You can go directly to the business so it’s very helpful when making decisions.

Why did developers move away from Waterfall?

I can think of three reasons why mainly developers have moved away from waterfall.

A main factor is the changeable environment. 20 years ago, the were less IT companies, software and product on the market. But now there is a growing number of competitors, meaning companies need to be flexible.

From a reactive perspective, COVID was a key reason that pushed even more companies to adopting an agile methodology. On one end, you had companies that adopted quickly when the pandemic hit, and ways of working meant flexibility was key in an ever-transitioning period for businesses. However, those that haven’t used agile before and failed to adopt quickly or was unable to due to a lack of resource and would lose out in this.

A final reason is the increase of software that is released. In the case of mobile applications, the first version of the app may not require a lot of time but provide an opportunity to be the first on the market.

How do you stay agile?

Sometimes, you must be agile about agile, and you learn from all perspectives – invite the team to use the product from the experience they gain on the way. Being agile from the beginning from the onboarding stage means ideas can be promoted from an early stage.

Agile frameworks mean you adapt from the beginning. Whereas in waterfall, it cuts you off until the end. So, staying agile means you deliver the technical roadmap with the things you really want and need.

Godel’s agile journey

At Godel, all our clients are on different stages of their agile journey. Some are very agile, and our teams learn from our clients to be fully aligned in the agile process. On the other hand, some are not as familiar with the ways of working and here at Godel, the Agile Delivery Coordinators and other team members are here to support and teach clients how to be agile.

During the onboarding phase, we run scrum workshops. Everyone has their own experience and explanation of why we use agile etc. It is a huge responsibility as we look at how we could do it better, not just Godel, but from the client’s side too. Therefore, the ADCs are here to look at what can be done better from using agile.

Conclusion

Agile adoption allows you to develop software faster and cheaper and as a result, you can expect an increase in productivity. When you talk about agile, it doesn’t just mean the project, it’s about looking at your ways of working and constantly reflecting on how it could be improved. Agile provides the flexibility, let’s a team grow freely and include everyone’s ideas from all areas of the business.