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Scrum - Moving to the best Agile Methodology from Waterfall

Scrum - Moving to the best Agile Methodology from Waterfall
June 11, 2015


While working on Agile transformation from a waterfall approach, organizations face a lot of challenges that could have been avoided if they knew things beforehand. There are always some high priority programs going on in these organizations at any point in time and it is difficult to decide how long it would take to make the transformation. It really takes time to ingest an Agile process and get up to speed; besides, the transition from waterfall to Agile requires an attitude change among team members who must be made aware of the Agile methodology before the transition even begins.

It is mostly about behavior, and wouldn’t be effective at all if team members just have the knowledge but don’t practice it. Here are a few suggestions that leaders can keep in mind before moving to Agile.

Are You Ready?

Agile methodology is very popular these days - especially Scrum, which has become so popular that every organization is implementing it to successfully transform themselves. The idea seems to be very demanding and promising at first glance. However, it really matters how we implement Agile. We need to consider a lot of things before blindly making the decision for Agile.

The advantage of Scrum is that it blends all development activities into interactions, adapting to accept actualities at fixed intervals. Organization leaders really need to do a lot more research before jumping on the bandwagon of adopting the Scrum approach. Here are a few questions they need to ask themselves:

  1. Is my organization really prepared to adopt Agile methodology?
  2. Do I have a plan laid out for Agile transformation?
  3. It is all about people; do I have people trained and set to move to Agile?
  4. Have I planned for one pilot project before the move?
  5. Do I have success stories/experiences that people faced during the pilot project?
  6. Am I sure that the reports produced by the pilot project are useful?
  7. Have I evaluated the pros and cons of the pilot project?
  8. Am I mentally prepared for Agile before moving everyone else in the organization?
  9. Do I have a backup plan?

If the answer to the above questions is ‘yes’, then you are ready to move forward with the Agiletransformation. The most important thing is that all your employees - including contractors,should be made aware about this methodology.


While transforming from waterfall to Agile, there could be multiple issues. Forming, Storming,Norming and Performing, really come at a cost, which is, time. Here are a few risks that mightoccur. Have a mitigation plan ready around these:

  1. Management pressure to implement Agile - when the heat is on
  2. Not enough planning for Agile transformation
  3. Agile training provided to a subset of team members
  4. Lack of a budget for training
  5. Deadline to move from a rocky road to a bed of roses
  6. Proper “Onshore-Offsite model” related training, if applicable for organizations
  7. Non business owners-driven planning (Architect/Technical team members)
  8. Product owner acting like an architect
  9. Architect as a bottleneck
  10. Less enthusiastic team
  11. Silent team members
  12. Product owner not knowing how to say “No”
  13. Product owner influenced by the Architect
  14. Only the Lead speaks on behalf of the development team
  15. Expecting the tester to do coding
  16. Expecting the developer to do testing
  17. Product owner not participating in Scrum ceremonies
  18. Expecting the Scrum Master to take care of a lot of technical work
  19. Tester working as a developer
  20. No balance between documentation and actual work
  21. Frequent conflict between various teams (product owner, Scrum master, Architect).
  22. Non uniform reports generated by Scrum Masters
  23. Silent participants in the “Scrum of Scrum” meetings
  24. Team members not attending Scrum ceremonies
  25. Coping with daylight saving with non-daylight saving countries
  26. Using tools to manage Scrum - making it even more complex
  27. Long backlog grooming meetings; wasting team members’ time when only one person is actually required
  28. Backlog grooming meeting results in conflict
  29. Scrum Master’s unawareness of the appropriate conflict management technique
  30. Hybrid follower – “Half waterfall” and “Half Agile organization” resulting in a sync-up nightmare


Scrum is still a powerful technique to apply in your organization. However, it needs to be smoothfrom an execution perspective. Be excited, be involved, and pull the organization to its new levelwith better customer satisfaction. Scrum ceremonies would be helpful if they are utilized wisely,but harmful and a time killer if not driven in the correct way.