If we fall from Agile, where would we land?

The idea of this post is to invalidate the assumption that teams which give up Agile will follow Waterfall. This is because, despite being unsuitable for product development/ IT projects, Waterfall is a highly disciplined engineering framework. In other words, Teams implementing Waterfall need to implement rigor procedures, for example:

Base lining of requirements
-Base lining of designs
-Change control process
-Detailed schedule upfront, which is based on baselined requirements, having detailed tasks
-Bug tracking
-Code base lining

Teams who fall from Agile, are probably not geared for the disciplined execution of Waterfall. Those teams are most probably landing to uncharted waters. Those teams might still comply to the organizational governance. However, they actually abandoned Agile values and principles, not to the rigor of Waterfall, but rather to the land of no law.

Symptoms of the team’s new destination include:

Managers take charge: In the absence of transparent values and principles, daily conflicts will be resolved by managers rather than their reports who are part of the project team.
Fragmented team:Tension among team members who report to different managers is high unless conflicts are avoided. According to Patrick Lencioni, “Fear of conflict” is a symptom of dysfunctional team.
Compliance becomes the goal: Business value mindset will be ridiculed because the prevailing value is to de-motivate teams so that they are recipients of commands.
Emergence of heroes: Those individuals can save the day by solving the wrong problems.

To summarize, teams which are not able to hold to Agile are improbable to follow Waterfall. They will fall to a state of team fragmentation, dominant chiefs, and supreme of compliance. In lack of transparency, metrics will be mis-leading.

This post represents my own personal ideas and has no attribution to any of my previous/ current clients or employers.

2 thoughts on “If we fall from Agile, where would we land?

  1. If a team isn’t disciplined enough to follow a structured process, there’s NO WAY they will be “saved” by Agile, which I think takes MORE discipline, and skill. When will our industry learn that skill, and team dynamics, are more important than *any* process? Great article!

  2. I totally agree with Aaron. Agile is far more disciplined than an out of the box waterfall process! I think the agile values and principles can apply to any lifecycle….that’s the hard bit. The lifecycle process is just how we figure out what is meant to happen next!

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