Mixing Agile and Waterfall: Is there a recipe for success?

The age-old battle between “old-school” and “new-fangled” has never been more pronounced than in the world of IT today. With project managers and business leaders wanting traditional, Waterfall data from developers bent on leveraging the latest Agile techniques, finding a recipe for success may seem elusive at best. But these two worlds can do more than collide. In fact, they can coexist harmoniously—creating synergies in surprising ways.

The first step is to create the right culture. Define and articulate the value of a mixed methodologies team to everyone involved (especially the execs) in order to create an environment in which that team can flourish. Hold a meeting, blast out an email, whatever you need to do to make sure the values of a mixed methodologies team are explained and, most importantly, understood.

Next, give teams feedback in a language they can understand. Jargon-check your communications to avoid causing anyone to shut down or feel threatened by unfamiliar language. You can also bridge the terminology gap between Waterfall and Agile by translating stories into tasks, epics into projects, programs into releases, and products into portfolios.

Finally, create the right benchmarks. Mixed methodology teams work best with benchmarks (which measure progress) rather than milestones (which announce a destination). Most importantly, ensure that benchmarks accommodate the team, the project manager, and executive stakeholders equally.

To learn more, join Gigaom and Workfront (formerly AtTask) for “4 Essentials for Managing Multiple Methodologies,” a free webinar on January 29, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. PT. Register now!