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Why Agile Should Be More Predictable Than Waterfall

March 5, 2017 — Posted by Al Shalloway

Many executives have been led to believe that Agile is inherently less predictable than a waterfall approach.  However, Agile, when wrapped in Lean-Thinking, can be more predictable because it enables working directly on the true causes of unpredictability in software development.  Waterfall’s large projects and stage gate approach cause delays in feedback, workflow, testing and integration.  These delays inherently create a significant amount of rework (redoing requirements, reworking code that missed requirements, finding bugs, thrashing during integration).  This work, of course, is never planned for, hence the bad estimates.  When the projects are de-scoped to meet time constraints, many of the less important features have already been done.  This means a lower number of features are delivered and many of these were not of the highest value.    

The key to having predictable results is to eliminate delay-induced work.  This requires smaller batches of work that are properly sequenced in importance, properly formed teams (or groups of teams) and solid technical practices.  Agile suggests additional methods such as Acceptance Test-Driven Development, automated testing and continuous integration.  These directly improve understanding of requirements (through quick feedback), code quality and risk reduction.

Although waterfall and Agile approaches have different mindsets, some of Agile’s methods can be incorporated into a waterfall. For example, making both projects and planning cycles shorter.  Improving methods will not make an organization Agile, but it may help set the stage for a true transformation.

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Re-Thinking “Eliminate Waste” and “Last Responsible Moment”

February 25, 2017 — Posted by Al Shalloway

Re-Thinking “Eliminate Waste”

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Greek Tragedy in Continuous Integration

February 24, 2017 — Posted by Steve Thomas

A business leader approached my colleague and complained, "I invested $50 million last year in new testing environments for Continuous Integration - It was a waste, we are hardly getting any benefit from it." How is it that an organization could establish a solid beginning for CI, investing in the environments, tooling and test automation and yet get little benefit. Sadly, we've seen this movie play out so many times that we know exactly what didn't happen in the organization.

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Cost of Implementing Continuous Integration

February 21, 2017 — Posted by Steve Thomas

Someone in your organization is telling you, "We really need to implement Continuous Integration." They have probably told you many reasons how and why your development organization will be much better, faster, higher quality, efficient, etc. once you have Continuous Integration in place. They are absolutely right - I also am convinced that if you implement Continuous Integration you will gain fantastic benefits.

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The Importance of Right-Sized Epics in SAFe

February 13, 2017 — Posted by Al Shalloway

This is part of our Tuning SAFe webinar series.  A recording of the webinar on this topic is available here

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Blog Authors

Al Shalloway
Business, Operations, Process, Sales, Agile Design and Patterns, Personal Development, Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Cory Foy
Change Management, Innovation Games, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile
Guy Beaver
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Management, Operations, DevOps, Planning/Estimation, Change Management, Lean Implementation, Transitioning to Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Scrum
Israel Gat
Business and Strategy Development, DevOps, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean, Kanban, Scrum
Jim Trott
Business and Strategy Development, Analysis and Design Methods, Change Management, Knowledge Management, Lean Implementation, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile, Workflow, Technical Writing, Certifications, Coaching, Mentoring, Online Training, Professional Development, Agile, Lean-Agile, SAFe, Kanban
Ken Pugh
Agile Design and Patterns, Software Design, Design Patterns, C++, C#, Java, Technical Writing, TDD, ATDD, Certifications, Coaching, Mentoring, Professional Development, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, SAFe, Kanban, Kanban Method, Scrum, Scrumban, XP
Marc Danziger
Business and Strategy Development, Change Management, Team Agility, Online Communities, Promotional Initiatives, Sales and Marketing Collateral
Max Guernsey
Analysis and Design Methods, Planning/Estimation, Database Agility, Design Patterns, TDD, TDD Databases, ATDD, Lean-Agile, Scrum
Scott Bain
Analysis and Design Methods, Agile Design and Patterns, Software Design, Design Patterns, Technical Writing, TDD, Coaching, Mentoring, Online Training, Professional Development, Agile
Steve Thomas
Business and Strategy Development, Change Management, Lean Implementation, Team Agility, Transitioning to Agile
Tom Grant
Business and Strategy Development, Executive Management, Management, DevOps, Analyst, Analysis and Design Methods, Planning/Estimation, Innovation Games, Lean Implementation, Agile, Lean-Agile, Lean, Kanban