Don’t go chasing waterfall … development, that is. According to a recent post by Madison Moore on Medium featuring insights from several software delivery industry leaders, waterfall is – while still popular – not the best way to win in the marketplace. With methodologies like Agile, DevOps and Continuous Delivery becoming ever more prominent over the past 15 years or so, waterfall is old news. Or, is it? Moore cites a recent study by Gartner: “According to Gartner’s IT Key Metrics Data report, the waterfall method as employed on 56% of development efforts in 2015, with iterative methods used in 21% of projects and agile in 23%.” While Agile has been the buzzword of the decade, it seems many organizations still haven’t fully adopted the practice yet. While many cite the fallbacks of waterfall development – no feedback loops, rigid structure and requirements-based development that leads to stalled projects and unhappy customers – it’s not necessarily all bad.
According to CollabNet CEO Flint Brenton, waterfall still provides many benefits. In the article, Flint explains that while waterfall development can be seen as rigid, the other edge of the sword is that it allows for detailed and well-thought out projects that are “robust and easy to follow.” Plus, in highly-regulated organizations like financial services or large enterprises, Flint mentions that having a focus on requirements building can be a bonus. Waterfall can help keep your development teams on track with meeting requirements early in the delivery lifecycle. However, like anything in life, Flint suggests that those still employing the waterfall method should use it in moderation. In fact, companies that operate in hybrid models with a combination of Agile and waterfall actually perform quite well, and this hybrid approach is becoming more popular today. Per Flint: “It doesn’t always have to be one way or the other, in fact, imposing a single style of software development enterprise-wide won’t necessarily solve the challenges of having a fractured and disparate development environment.”
For more insights from Flint and several other industry leaders, read the full article on Medium.