On a CSPO course today, I got the following “question” from the participants:
“Benefits of Scrum vs. waterfall in 5 words”
Never had to put so concise.
So here’s my try:
Not a statement, but five words nonetheless.
But those weren’t the first five words that came to my mind. The first was:
“Scrum projects kick waterfall’s ass”
Not the most politically correct, though :).
But the whole topic is a bit unfair. It’s like asking the benefits of shoes vs. gloves for your feet. This isn’t really a question should we use waterfall or Agile for a software project, because both processes are valid in appropriate process context. Plan-driven approaches are highly valid for predictable environment whereas Agile is for complex environments. Also, there are situations where significant pre-planning is just necessary, because of excessively long feedback cycle or massive rework costs.
Mike Cohn, in his recent book “Succeeding with Agile”, poses this issue as a balance between “anticipation” and “adaptation”. In every situation, we do at least a little bit of anticipation and a little bit of adaptation. How much of each we do beyond that depends entirely on what we are doing. If we are ordering an expensive server with a couple of month’s delivery time, it probably makes sense to do your homework in advance. The only trouble with traditional thinking is that it does not sufficiently recognize the need for adaptation because of the expectation that projects are fundamentally predictable (and claiming that we just don’t know enough of it yet).
What would have been your five words?